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The Real End of May Open Mike

Open MikeJune starts tomorrow. It's true, you can look it up.

What's on your mind?

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The Playoff Pool: After 2 Rounds

The Playoff Pool: After 2 RoundsA collective of family and friends drafted in my annual NHL playoff pool. Everyone drafted ten players and a point is a point is a point. With round 2 ending last night, here are some observations.

  • Only one person has no active players remaining. That would be Mike Muzzin who drafted 7 Red Wings.
  • My brother Steve is currently in last place, but he has surpassed the legendary Lamster Line. Steve drafted a bunch of Canucks.
  • The leader right now, Jason, is in great shape, despite drafting a bunch of Sens.
  • Mofo still has 9 active players. Currently in 3rd place, I wouldn't bet against this mofo.
  • I'm rooting for my 11-year old son who is currently in 2nd place out of 13 drafters. Once again, he's beating his old man who sits in 7th.

My favourite fun-fact about the final four teams is that they're the last four Stanley Cup winners. There's a lot of playoff experience remaining.

I'm sticking with my end-of-season finals prediction: Penguins over Blackhawks in 7.

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Calling Bullshit on the Ford's "$1 Billion" Claim

Both Rob and Doug Ford lie frequently, but they've been dropping one lie lately that really irks me. They keep claiming they've saved Toronto taxpayers "over a billion dollars".

I'll let Matt Elliott take it from here. He's decided to challenge the Ford's on their fiscal record while others pursue Rob's lie about the existence of a recording showing him smoking crack, calling Justin Trudeau a "fag" and Don Bosco students "just fucking minorities".

False. Absolutely, definitively false. I’ve turned this number over in my head again and again and I can’t find any fair accounting of the city’s finances that supports the Fords as saving anywhere near a billion dollars. When Mayor Rob Ford took office, the gross operating budget was $9.214 billion. This year, it’s $9.405 billion. That represents an increase of about $200 million, not a decrease of a billion dollars.

The net operating budget - the part of the budget you pay with your property taxes - increased from $3.534 billion to $3.713 billion. Also not a reduction of a billion dollars.

No math supports anything close to the $1 billion dollar claim and I'm sick of hearing Rob and Doug drop this figure like it's fact. It's yet another bald-faced lie but this one can't be blamed on a massive media conspiracy.

By now it's clear, however, that Ford Nation has no interest in facts.

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 39: What Rose Thinks of Rob Ford

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 39In this 39th episode, Rosie lets us know what she thinks of Rob Ford after sharing a story about an asshole at McDonad's and her favourite series finales. This episode is exactly 32:40.

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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Henry Morgentaler, Dead at 90

In MemoriumHenry Morgentaler was 90. He was the family doctor who led the abortion movement in Canada. He was one of the key players in the 1988 Supreme Court of Canada ruling that declared the law prohibiting abortion unconstitutional.

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Miss Manners Gets Shanked

We're supposed to be a modern, civil society. We're supposed to be polite to each other, share public spaces and practice acts of common courtesy.

As such I've heard of instances of people spotting another person dumping trash on the street, and then approaching that person, and politely saying "oh excuse me you dropped something" to remind them that it's wrong to litter on many levels. I've done this sort of thing too, and generally I believe it's necessary that we enlighten the ignorant among us.

So, last week a guy was walking just ahead of me into a Tim Horton's, and although he clearly saw me right behind him, he didn't seem to have any interest at all in showing a little bit of the aforementioned common courtesy by holding the door for me, even slightly.

So, I quietly said "Thanks".

He heard me, but he said nothing and we both joined the line.

Minutes later though in front of about 20 people in line and a jammed lunch-hour T-Ho's, the guy decides to make his move, and he starts squawking and shouting and swearing at me, and basically challenges me to a fight.

This is a grown man.

I ignore him. That is, until he escalates his tirade, and starts yelling louder and proceeds to call me a "fucking pussy". Kids, I might add, are also in this store.

Now my Irish blood is up. Way up. So, I calmly take off my sunglasses, put down my coffee and rush briskly right up into his face with my arm fully cocked. I should add that although I was still in control, a guy in the lineup sees my rage boil over, and puts an arm in between us, which what might have separated me from a visit to jail.

As I rushed up to him and got nose to nose with this douchebag, for a split second I see fear in the guy's eyes, and for me, that was enough.

So I calmly said, "you're not worth it", turn my back on him, put my sunglasses on and very slowly walk out, sipping my coffee. This was quite deliberate to project to him that I didn't see him as a threat.

As I exit, I hear him continue but I simiply ignore him. I fully expect him to come outside after me, and I'm fully ready for anything, but he doesn't.

So I slolwy walk back to work and try to settle down. About 3 minutes later I hear him yelling again, this time from about 200 yards away, jumping around and continuing his threats. I guess he wanted to scare me by suggesting he was following me.

"Oh I know where you work you fucking pussy! You fucked with the wrong guy!", he screams, with his cellphone up to his ear as if he's on the phone calling some gangstas to come take care of me.

So, perhaps I was wrong for saying what I said initially, or perhaps it's just the price to pay for trying to remind our fellow man, that we're all in this together.

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End of May Open Mike

Open MikeIt's hard to believe it's almost June.

What's on your mind this Tuesday?

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The Best Series Finale

The Best Series FinaleI recently wrote about The Office series finale. I liked it.

In the comments of that entry, 519 Rob had a great idea: an entry about the best series finales.

My personal favourite is the series finale of Six Feet Under, but I also loved the finales of The Wire and, although I wasn't sure I loved it at first, The Sopranos.

What's your favourite series finale of all-time?

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Your Blog Sucks: Episode 2

Your Blog Sucks: Episode 2In this 2nd episode of Your Blog Sucks, elvis and I discuss things that suck. Let us know in the comments if we suck. This episode is exactly 28:08.

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

Catch up on all episodes of Your Blog Sucks at http://www.torontomike.com/your_blog_sucks_podcast/.

Your Blog Sucks Logo

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How I Used to Make Music Mixes

The WalkmanI just assembled a nice 30 minute playlist for my swim tomorrow. It took me less than a minute. That got me reminiscing about the mixes I used to make for my old Sony Walkman when I was in grade school.

I had this big ol' dual cassette stereo from Citizen that was purchased at the nearby Consumers Distributing. It had AM/FM, dual cassete decks and a record player on top. I'd spend hours and hours in my room dubbing the perfect mix onto a blank cassette tape.

My source material came from my extensive vinyl 45 singles and cassette tape collections or songs I'd copied from the radio. When copying from the radio not only did I have to deal with the DJ talking over parts of the song but I'd usually record from 680 CFTR which meant a copy of AM quality sound. I didn't even care.

Because it required a great deal of time and energy to get these mixes right, there was a great deal of pride when I'd finish a tape that was exactly right. Today, when it takes less than a minute to assemble such a mix, I don't have that feeling. I miss that feeling.

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Ford Brothers Blame Media, Channel Sarah Palin

Ford Brothers Blame Media, Channel Sarah PalinNow that Rob Ford and Doug Ford are both mired in controversy, most of it the result of solid investigative reporting by trustworthy journalists working for award-winning publications, it's clear their attack plan is to blame the media.

Rob Ford has twice dismissed the very serious crack smoking allegations against him as Toronto Star attacks. He essentially wants you to believe Kevin Donovan and Robyn Doolittle risked their entire careers to make this up in an effort to bring the mayor down. Even if you dismiss the fact that Gawker broke the story, this notion is absurd.

Now Doug is making the media rounds after the Globe published an investigation that was 18-months in the making. Doug Ford, it has been revealed, was a drug dealer, and Rob Ford's new top secret Directory of Operations and Logistics was his right-hand man. I've seen Doug on CBC and heard him on the radio and it's crystal clear he's taking a page out of someone's "how to rally your tea party base" handbook.

palin

The gotcha liberal media is at it again, right Rob and Doug? I'd love to see a little humility and accountability from our mayor and his councillor brother, but instead they seem hell bent on blaming the media for all their many follies.

They've got a show on 1010 that airs at 1pm. It's really more of a 2-hour ad for their agenda, and today, if you bother to tune in, you'll just hear 2-hours of denial and media blame.

Sigh.

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Daily Photo: Masonic Temple Ceiling

picturesDuring Doors Open Toronto this morning, I popped into the Masonic Temple on Annette Street just west of Keele and snapped this picture of the ceiling.

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Unable to Log in to Google Analytics and Adwords? Disable Adblock

Unable to Log In To Google Analytics and Adwords? Disable AdblockI was having issues logging into Google Analytics and Google Adwords this week.

This is what I saw when I logged into Google Adwords.

adwords

This is what I saw when I logged into Google Analytics.

analytics

I logged out and back in, I restarted, I tried different machines with different operating systems and cleared my cache and deleted all my cookies. None of that worked.

Finally, I disabled AdBlock, a Chrome extension I use to hide ads. Voila! AdBlock was the culprit.

This is something I only started noticing this week. I believe it's part of Google's war against ad blockers, which I'll bet costs Google millions and millions of dollars every year.

If you're having the same trouble logging into Adwords or Analytics, now you know what to do.

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What a Week Open Mike

Open MikeWhat a week!

What's on your mind?

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Rob Ford Has Fired His Chief of Staff

Rob Ford Has Fired His Chief of StaffToronto Mayor Rob Ford has fired his chief of staff, Mark Towhey. No reason has been given. He was relieved of his duties and escorted from the premises by security this afternoon.

Meanwhile, it's been an entire week since three reporters from two different publications revealed what they witnessed in a video that allegedly shows Rob Ford smoking crack, calling Justin Trudeau a "fag" and the students at Don Bosco "just fucking minorities". It's been a whole week, and our mayor has said almost nothing. He hasn't admitted he has a problem nor strongly denied the allegations. I'm convinced his strategy is to avoid the issue in the hopes it will simply blow over.

Has Mark Towhey been fired because he disagreed with this awful strategy? Has Mark Towhey been fired because of this crack controversy?

With Rob Ford still in office, we have many questions but few answers.

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Your Blog Sucks: Episode 1

Your Blog Sucks: Episode 1In this 1st episode of Your Blog Sucks, elvis and I discuss things that suck. Let us know in the comments if we suck. This episode is exactly 30:22.

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

Catch up on all episodes of Your Blog Sucks at http://www.torontomike.com/your_blog_sucks_podcast/.

Your Blog Sucks Logo

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Toronto Huskies

Toronto HuskiesTim Leiweke, the new CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, seems to be open to a Raptors re-branding.

I will acknowledge that we absolutely have had conversations about the colour and make-up of our brand, our uniforms and our image.

Now's the time to erase one of many mistakes made by the Toronto Raptors since we were granted an NBA franchise. At the time, Jurassic Park was all the rage. Kids naturally love dinosaurs, and Jurassic Park was so damn cool, dinos were everywhere.

We were essentially named after a fad. At the time I wanted our team to be named the Toronto Huskies because we had a team named the Toronto Huskies in the Basketball Association of America during the 1946-47 season. It's a cool name with history so I thought it was a slam-dunk.

huskies

I was wrong and the Jurassic Park fad won the day. Now's our chance to correct this oversight. It's time to change our nickname from Raptors to Huskies. Let's be the Toronto Huskies!

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 38: The Rob Ford Scandal

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 38In this 38th episode, Monica and I chat about what happend to Rosie, the latest Rob Ford scandal, what makes a Facebook friend, the Leafs collapse and Mad Men. This episode is exactly 31:17.

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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My Mark McCoy and The Toronto Star Story

My Mark McCoy and The Toronto Star StoryI went to high school at Michael Power / St. Joseph's. Today the school is located near Centennial Park in Etobicoke, but when I attended the school, it was nested between Bloor and Dundas just west of Islington. Today, you'll find Michael Power Place condos where I once studied history.

During the warmer months, I would bike to school. I had a great route along Dundas that would get me to school in 15 minutes. This little story took place after school one afternoon as I was set to depart on my bike.

Across the street from the school was the 22 Division police station. I saw a camera man taking pictures and decided to get a closer look. That's when the camera man spotted me and asked me to come over.

He introduced me to Mark McCoy, who would go on to win an Olympic gold medal in the 110 metres hurdles. I was a sports nut, and I knew who Mark McCoy was. The photographer told me he was with the Toronto Star and wanted a picture of me on my bike talking to Mark McCoy. I posed for a few shots, enjoyed some humourous exchanges with Mark McCoy and went on my way, expecting to be in the next day's Toronto Star.

Then, I told my brothers... I was going to be in The Star! I grew up with home delivery of The Star, so getting a copy would be easy. The next morning I grabbed the paper and started searching for the picture of me and Mark McCoy. It didn't exist.

I continued to check for the next week or so before giving up. For a very long time my brothers would suggest I made the whole thing up. I didn't of course, because if I were going to make up a story about posing with an athlete for the Toronto Star, I'd have had myself posing with Doug Gilmour or Wendel Clark or Roberto Alomar.

There's a lesson for all of us in this true tale.... if a photographer ever snaps your picture for the paper, don't tell a soul until it's published.

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Was That Thunder or Fireworks Open Mike

Open MikeAll good things come to an end.

What's on your mind this Tuesday?

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Ray Manzarek, Dead at 74

In MemoriumRay Manzarek was 74. He was a founding member and keyboardist of 1960s rock group The Doors.

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The Office: A Finale Well Done

The Office: A Finale Well DoneI watched the US version of The Office until Steve Carell left. The last episode I watched, prior to last week's finale, was "Goodbye, Michael" in season seven.

I did something similar with ER. I followed and enjoyed ER until Dr. Mark Greene died. That was it for me. I felt no need to continue watching, although I did return for the seres finale.

The Office finale, which I just watched yesterday, was very well done. It was sweet, funny and sad with just the right amount of nostalgia and closure. The return of Michael Scott was the icing on the cake.

office

Did you see The Office finale? What did you think?

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Picking the Last Song of the Night Was Easy

Picking the Last Song of the Night Was EasyI'm getting married in a few weeks, so we're now finalizing the music for the big event.

There's been some fun debate with regards to what song will play before the ceremony and after the ceremony and while we sign the marriage certificate and all of that, but picking the last song of the night was easy.

The last song will be Louis Armstrong's "What A Wonderful World". This one was a no-brainer for me. Its place in the soundtrack of my life was solidified 24 summers ago when it was played on the Polar Express every night during the CNE after closing. It became the thought provoking anthem of my summer of '89.

It's the perfect cap to a magical evening. I'm just glad Monica agrees.

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I'm Not TorontoMike on Reddit

I'm Not TorontoMike on RedditIt seems there's a Redditor who goes by the name TorontoMike who is quite active on the /r/Canada subreddit. I am definitely not Reddit's TorontoMike.

Members of /r/MetaCanada, however, believe we're one and the same and that I'm the "neckbeard" they love to hate.

I actually had to Google the term neckbeard to find out what they were actually calling Reddit's TorontoMike. Here's what a neckbeard is, according to Urban Dictionary.

Talkative, self-important nerdy men (usually age 30 and up) who, through an inability to properly decode social cues, mistake others' strained tolerance of their blather for evidence of their own charm.

That doesn't sound like me at all!

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The Comment From Rinse about Rob Ford's Crack Use

The Comment From Rinse about Rob Ford's Crack UseOver the past few days there's been tons of traffic from Gawker, Reddit, Twitter and elsewhere to this comment left by Rinse on March 26. Here's everything I know about it...

First, here's what Rinse wrote at 9:09pm that March 26 night in response to allegations Rob Ford has battled alcohol abuse:

Here's the thing: Rob Ford DOES use crack cocaine. A friend of mine, her mother is a serious drug addict. Rob Ford regularly goes over to her house to smoke crack.

The problem is this: The daughter wants to expose Rob Ford's drug abuse, but her oldschool Italian grandmother won't allow her to "bring shame" upon the family, long story short. So basically the daughter has become complicit with the entire thing instead of doing the right thing. Shame on you Jasmin.

Rinse commented from an IP address that has never commented on TorontoMike.com before or since. The IP address belongs to a Toronto Rogers customer.

Rinse left his/her email address as rinse@rinseout.com. I've written this address and it bounced back as invalid.

I have no idea who Rinse is and cannot comment on his/her integrity. When the comment showed up on March 26, I completely dismissed it and gave it little thought. Once Gawker broke the story about Rob Ford being caught on tape smoking crack, it suddenly seemed far more plausible.

With so many new eyeballs suddenly reading Rinse's comment, I felt I should share everything I know about it so there's no confusion.

Rinse, if you're out there and want to elaborate, please contact me.

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Victoria Day Weekend Open Mike

Open MikeIsn't it nuts that we have a holiday to celebrate Queen Victoria's birthday? Surely we can do better, Canada!

What's on your mind this long weekend?

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Video of Rob Ford Smoking Crack Cocaine

Video of Rob Ford Smoking Crack Cocaine: GawkerThis entry will contain no editorializing. I'm merely going to report facts.

Gawker just wrote about a video of Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine. John Cook, the author, has seen the video, supposedly taken within the past six months.

Here is what the video shows: Rob Ford, the mayor of Toronto, is the only person visible in the frame. Prior to the trip, I spent a lot of time looking at photographs of Rob Ford. The man in the video is Rob Ford. It is well-lit, clear. Ford is seated, in a room in a house. In one hand is a a clear, glass pipe. The kind with a big globe and two glass cylinders sticking out of it. In the other hand is a lighter. A slurred voice off-camera is ranting about Canadian politics in what sounds like an attempt to goad Ford. "Pierre Trudeau was a faggot!" is the one phrase the lodges in my mind. Ford, pipe in one hand and lighter in the other, is laughing, and mildly protesting at the sacrilege. He seems to keep trying to light the pipe, but keeps stopping to laugh. He is red-faced and sweaty, heaving with each breath. Finally, he finds his moment and lights up. He inhales.

You may recall the recent controversy when Sarah Thompson described Rob Ford's behaviour as that of a man on cocaine and the even more recent allegations that Rob Ford has a substance abuse problem.

ford

The photo above from the Gawker story "shows Ford hanging out with a number of people. The gentleman standing to his right, flipping the camera the bird, is Anthony Smith. Smith, a 21-year-old college student, was killed two months ago outside a Toronto nightclub in a gangland-style shooting".

Update: The Toronto Star's Robyn Doolittle and Kevin Donovan have also seen the video and believe it to be Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. They have many more details here.

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Your Blog Sucks: My New Podcast

Your Blog Sucks: My New PodcastIt's been a blast co-hosting Toronto Mike'd with my good friend Rose, so we're going to keep going. That's right, after some stressful negotiation sessions, I've managed to lock Rose up with a sweet 5-year contract. We're recording episode 38 next week.

I will be launching a new podcast, however, with my buddy Elvis. Elvis and I will start recording Your Blog Sucks next week. The tone of Your Blog Sucks will be a little brasher, a little more sarcastic and slightly less mature. It'll be a completely different show from Toronto Mike'd and we hope you'll give it a listen.

your-blog-sucks

We'll try to keep it to 30 minutes a week and keep it interesting and funny. Fear not Elvis, there's a first time for everything.

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Still Stunned... Still Bummed #Leafs

Still Stunned... Still Bummed #LeafsI still can't believe it...

You follow a team for decades... watch them in the preseason, catch every regular season game you can, then buckle up for the playoffs. Heading in, you have reasonable expectations. I thought Boston would beat us in 5 or 6. I never liked the matchup, in fact, I think it was the worst matchup possible.

Last night's collapse with a 4-1 lead in game seven and only 10 minutes left in the game was so cruel, so intensely painful, a day later I'm still stunned and totally bummed. I feel awful.... like a good friend just punched me in the gut. I still can't believe it happened.

I remember the loss to LA in the Campbell Conference finals. Game 7 was a devastating loss, with a finals against Montreal waiting in the wings, but this feel so much worse. Up 4-1, I was planning Leafs parties for the Leafs-Rangers series, a series in which we'd have home-ice advantage. I was so excited for my kids, my city and myself, a lifelong Leafs fan who jumped 4-feet in the air when Kadri scored.

Go Leafs Go!

I realize it was just a game, and when I step back and get perspective, I realize how silly it is that I feel this way, but this one hurts.

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It's Just a Game Open MIke

Open MikeIt's just a game...

What's on your mind this Tuesday?

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Joyce Brothers, Dead at 85

In MemoriumJoyce Brothers was 85. She was the pop psychologist who pioneered the television advice show in the 1950s and enjoyed a long and prolific career as a syndicated columnist, author, and television and film personality.

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Daily Photo: Old Dodge

picturesI snapped this rusty old Dodge right outside my upcoming wedding venue in the historic distillery district.

Untitled

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Peter Worthington, Dead at 86

In MemoriumPeter Worthington was 86. He was a journalist with the Toronto Telegram before becoming a founding editor of the Toronto Sun.

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When We Were Diet Coke Heads

RewindThe first home team clinching game I recall was when George Bell squeezed the last out to clinch my Blue Jays the AL East in 1985. It wasn't until that next April, however, that we broke out the Diet Coke.

The Maple Leafs were awful in 1985-86, finishing 25-48-7. In the Norris Division, that was good enough for fourth and a matchup with the division winning Chicago Black Hawks.

It was only a best-of-three back then in the first round, and somehow, against all odds, the Leafs played superb hockey taking games one and two on the road. In game three, on April 12, 1986, my brothers and I watched Wendel Clark lead us to the sweep.

It was our first taste of the thrill a playoff series victory brought us, and we instinctively headed to the fridge for something to celebrate with. I remember we grabbed cans of Diet Coke and began spraying them at each other in celebration. Our Leafs were victorious and we were elated.

I'll never forget that first Leafs playoff round victory celebration and the Diet Cokes. I can't wait for tonight.


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10 Songs With Mother in the Title

Happy Mothers DayHappy Mother's Day to my mom and all the mothers out there.

Here's a list of ten songs with mother in the title. They're all great songs, even if a few of them aren't exactly on message with today's celebration.

  • Mother and Child Reunion - Paul Simon
  • Good Mother - Jann Arden
  • Does Your Mother Know - ABBA
  • Mother - Danzig
  • Mother Mother - Tracy Bonham
  • Mother Popcorn, Part 1 - James Brown
  • Mother's Little Helper - Rolling Stones
  • No Sugar Tonight / New Mother Nature - Guess Who
  • Tie Your Mother Down - Queen
  • Mother - John Lennon

Drop other "mother" songs in the comments!

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Mother's Day Weekend Open Mike

Open MikeI've got a good mother, and her voice is what keeps me here.

What's on your mind this mother's day weekend?

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5 Things I've Learned From Podcasting

5 Things I've Learned From PodcastingI've been podcasting since August, and during that time I've learned a few things.

1. Mics Matter
If you're building a home studio, don't cheap out on the microphones. The most important part of the puzzle is the mics and they're not cheap. I bought three RØDE Procasters and that alone set me back about a grand.

2. Chemistry is Key
Whether you're recording with a co-host, a guest or both, good chemistry is more than half the battle. When you click, interesting content will spill out naturally. Record with people you dig.

3. All the Pieces Matter
There are several components of a good podcast: hardware, software, content, hosting and xml. Dive in and touch all five and you'll be much better off long-term. If a part or two scares you, that's more reason to get your hands dirty and fully understand how it all fits together to create a proper podcast.

4. Measure With Perspective
Measure everything, including downloads of your MP3 file, but never lose perspective. The numbers will reveal a great deal, but don't let them dictate content or detract from quality without appreciating the complete picture. The numbers only tell a small part of the story.

5. Project and Get On That Mic
With my RØDE Procasters, for example, you need to speak directly into the front of the microphone. 10 cm to either side and you'll have a levelling issue. Practice projecting and getting right on that mic and make sure your co-host and guests are aware of the difference and have a chance to practice before you press record.

With the right equipment, the right chemistry and the right projection, you'll sound great. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments and I promise to reply.

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When My Son Beats Me

When My Son Beats MeI'm crazy about my boy. I'm not suggesting this is unique as I'm sure almost all fathers feel this way about their sons, but it's a super intense and awesome feeling to love someone in this way.

Last year, when my boy was only 10-years old, I let him draft in my annual playoff pool for the first time. He didn't receive any special help and had to draft like the rest of us. He ended up beating me by one point.

It's very, very early, but if I glance at the current standings of this year's pool, I see my 11-year old leading the pack. Heck, he's already 15 points up on his uncle Steve. And it looks like he'll only lose Subban and Kessel heading into the 2nd round. He's in pretty good shape.

My best man

You'd think I'd feel a little like Homer Simpson, but I don't. I'm damn proud of him and I hope he kicks my ass.

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My First Gmail

My First GmailIf you're a Gmail user and you visit this page, you'll get an error message and Gmail will redirect to a page that shows the oldest messages from your account. This is the oldest message from my account:

gmail

Gmail was launched on April Fool's Day of 2004 and that first email I sent from Gmail is dated June 12, 2004. That means I didn't get my invitation for over two months.

I'm willing to bet one of you was using Gmail before me. Does anyone have an earlier start date with Gmail?

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Tourist in Toronto

Tourist in TorontoThe following guest blog entry was written by Mark.

If you don’t have much time in Toronto, make your trip a truly Canadian experience and only visit that which you won’t find elsewhere.

While Toronto has some of the best museums in North America like the Royal Ontario Museum, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection is the only major public art gallery devoted to collecting and exhibiting only Canadian art. The permanent collection consists of almost 6 000 artworks by Tom Thomson, the Group of Seven, their contemporaries, and First Nations, Inuit and other artists who have made a contribution to Canada’s artistic heritage.

Learn about Canadian origins and head down to the Black Creek Pioneer Village – a recreation of life in 19th century Ontario. Here, you can explore more than forty historic 19th century buildings, decorated in the style of the 1860s with period furnishings and actors portraying villagers. The village is populated with ducks, horses, sheep and other livestock and is mostly self-explored, although many of the individual sites will have a guide inside to explain details of the structure.

If you’re not familiar with the country’s national winter sport, the Hockey Hall of Fame, dedicated to the history of the sport, is a great introduction to the game. Even better, go watch the Toronto Maple Leafs take to the ice.

Get on a streetcar. Toronto has the largest streetcar system in the Americas in terms of track length and ridership. It’s also the only large-scale streetcar system existing in Canada. While they might not be as efficient as the subway system, the streetcar is still a great and unique way to get around town and a good opportunity to see some sights and sounds.

Walk. Toronto has plenty of eclectic neighbourhoods worth seeing. If you want a little more information, take one of the free walking tours with the Tour Guys and explore the downtown core. The city also has designated Discovery Walks which highlight both the natural and human history of the region. These can be found with brown circular signs along the route and highlight other regions such as the Belt Line, Garrison Creek and the Humber River as well as the downtown core. While there are places to enjoy the night life, the city is currently debating the development of a new casino resort. Until it’s established, rather keep your gaming to the likes of Jackpot Capital Blackjack online and keep your Toronto tour truly Canadian.

Eat - lots! Toronto is considered to be one of North America's top food cities. It has the same variety as New York or San Francisco, while the compact, safe, and clean downtown core ensures that many renowned food neighbourhoods and restaurant venues are within a quick and pleasant walk's distance of one another.

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Humble and Fred Get Sirius

Humble and Fred Get SiriusMy pals Humble and Fred are taking their show to SiriusXM Canada. And yes, they'll still be podcasting and showing up on a handful of Astral stations, including 1010 here in Toronto.

As first heard on episode 36 of Toronto Mike'd, Humble and Fred will be heard live on SiriusXM Canada's comedy channel, Canada Laughs (channel 168), from 7am-9am.

That means Humble and Fred will be live on Sirius XM satellite channel 168 at 7am, will then appear as a podcast ready to download by about 10am, and will then will be heard in its edited version on select GTA Astral stations.

It's evolution, baby.

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 37: Kevin the Blogger

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 37In this 37th episode, Rosie and I chat with Kevin who writes for a movie blog and a Blackberry blog. He tries to convince Rosie to choose the Z10 over the iPhone 5 or Galaxy S4. This episode is exactly 50:50.

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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McDonald's Should Cut Charles Ramsey a Cheque

McDonald's Should Cut Charles Ramsey a ChequeIn 2005, McDonald's promised to pay rappers $5 every time a song that mentioned Big Macs got air time. I don't think they ever had to cut a cheque.

I'd like to see them send a cheque to Charles Ramsey, the man who helped rescue Amanda Berry from his neighbour's house in Cleveland. Ramsey managed to drop the names McDonald's and Big Mac during his 911 call and tv interview.

Here's his amazing 911 call in which he managed to drop the name McDonald's.

And here he is dropping the name McDonald's again in a television interview.

But the best line Charles drops in that interview is this:

I knew something was wrong when a little pretty white girl ran into a black man's arms. Something is wrong here. Dead giveaway.

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Inaugural Tuesday Open Mike

Open MikeWe'll see how this goes....

Welcome to your first Tuesday Open Mike.

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Another Ball Season Kicks Off Tonight

Another Ball Season Kicks Off TonightI've been playing with the same slo-pitch team for well over a decade now. We've had a few names, from Hooray For Everything to Raging Storm and now simply Storm, but it's been the same core group since the beginning.

Tonight, we kick off our season. This is one annual ritual I've grown to embrace, despite the fact I've lost some range. Some will argue I never had much range, but it was only 8-years ago I played SS for this team. Feels like yesterday...

Storm: I'll see you all tonight. I'll do my very best to flash a little leather at 3rd base and make that long throw to first, and hopefully make some good contact at the plate after a long, harsh winter. But no guarantees... I'm an old man.

Tools of the Trade

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When I Heard Cleveland and it Blew My Mind

When I Heard Cleveland and it Blew My MindI've written about my old blue transistor radio before, but it's been almost seven years so I thought I'd reminisce once more.

It was a Christmas gift in the mid-80s and I used to fall asleep listening to it. More often than not, I was listening to Tom Cheek and Jerry Howarth call Blue Jays games, but when there wasn't a Jays game on, I liked to slowly surf the AM and FM bands.

During this crawl, I'd pick up stations from cities that felt awfully far away. One of those cities was Cleveland.

I remember it blowing my mind that I was lying in my bed in Toronto and hearing a radio station all the way in Cleveland, Ohio. Radio seemed almost magic. It was a transponder, letting me hear traffic reports for streets I didn't know and weather reports in Fahrenheit!

I loved my blue transistor radio.

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Greg Quill, Dead at 66

In MemoriumGreg Quill was 66. He was an entertainment columnist and long-serving staff member of the Toronto Star.

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Daily Photo: Sorauren Park

picturesThe kids and I spent a good chunk of this beautiful afternoon playing ball at Sorauren Park in Parkdale.

That's where I found this old linseed factory. There's actually a pretty cool plan for a Town Square to completely revitalize this space. I thought I'd grab a picture of the old girl while they raise the funds.

Untitled

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Niccolò Machiavelli Open Mike

Open MikeThe Leafs are in deep, deep trouble, the Blue Jays are awful, TFC stinks and the Raptors haven't been heard from in weeks. Sounds like May in Toronto to me!

What's on your mind?

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Jeff Hanneman, Dead at 49

In MemoriumJeff Hanneman was 49. He was a founding member of the American thrash metal band Slayer.

He wrote the lyrics and music for Slayer's "Angel of Death" which was sampled by Public Enemy in their 1988 song "She Watch Channel Zero?!"



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Who Anne Murray Is To Me

Who Anne Murray Is To MeI'm still south of 40, so I don't remember Anne Murray's heyday with "Snowbird" and her other early and mid-70s hits. I missed the Anne Murray era, but I have very strong memories of her.

In 1977, Anne Murray released There's a Hippo in My Tub, and my parents bought it for me. I heard it all the time as a child.

hippo

My favourite tracks from the album were "Animal Crackers" and "Teddy Bears' Picnic". I friggin' loved "Teddy Bears' Picnic".

I'm not sure how the younger generation remembers Anne Murray, except from history books that remember her fondly as one of Canada's first big female solo singer success stories.

I remember her for the hippo in her bathtub.

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Tuesday or Wednesday for 2nd Open Mike?

Tuesday or Wednesday for 2nd Open Mike?During last Friday's Open Mike, someone asked if there could be a mid-week Open Mike bring the total of Open Mikes to two a week. I said I'd do it if ten commenters were on board.

Then commenters were into it, so next week I'll kick this off. I'm torn between making it a Tuesday Open Mike or a Wednesday Open Mike, so I'll let the majority decide.

Tuesday or Wednesday?

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 36: Humble Howard

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 36In this 36th episode, I'm joined by Humble Howard Glassman from the Humble and Fred show as we discuss his radio career, his personal life and he gives exclusive details about Humble and Fred's future on satellite radio. This episode is exactly 1:10:58.

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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Chris "Mac Daddy" Kelly, Dead at 34

In MemoriumChris Kelly was 34. He was half of the 1990s kid rap duo Kris Kross who had hits with "Jump" and "Warm It Up".


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Questions for Humble Howard?

Questions for Freddie P?My pal Humble Howard Glassman from the Humble and Fred Podcast is dropping by my studio this afternoon to record an episode of my podcast Toronto Mike'd.

Check out the shades

I've got some questions for him, but I'd love to add some of yours. What would you like me to ask Humble Howard?

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