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Indie88: The First Five Songs

Indie88: The First Five SongsToronto's newest radio station, Indie88, launched today at noon. I tuned in using the Android TuneIn Radio app and went for a bikeride. Here are the first five songs they played:

  1. Arcade Fire “Ready To Start”
  2. MGMT “Electric Feel”
  3. July Talk “Paper Girl”
  4. Pixies “Where Is My Mind”
  5. Broken Social Scene “7/4 Shoreline”

I dig all five songs. Arcade Fire, MGMT and Broken Social Scene are artists you might also hear on Edge 102, in fact I suspect Arcade Fire and BSS form the Cancon base of this indie style of programming. 102.1 no longer plays older alternative acts like the Pixies, so it'll be refreshing to hear them with Sonic Youth and The Smiths again on Toronto radio.

July Talk is a new Toronto-based band and "Paper Girl" sounded great. Coincidentally enough, they're opening the mainstage at Edgefest today.

You can hear the new 88.1 online at http://indie.streamon.fm/. They're playing Sloan's "Underwhelmed" right now.... damn I love that song.

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You're Watching Late Great Movies on Citytv

citytvRevisting the Police Academy movies with my kids recently, it felt like the kind of fare I'd enjoy on Citytv's Late Great Movies back in the 80s.

Late Great Movies is where I first saw Porky's, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Revenge of the Nerds and all the classics.

In addition to Mark Dailey's perfect voice we had these on-the-street bumpers. If you're too young to remember this, you missed out!


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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 46

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 46In this 46th episode, Mike tells Rosie about his camping trip and new house and Rosie talks about her web searches for a certain penis. This episode is exactly 37:49.

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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End of July Open Mike

Open MikeWhere the hell did July go?

If you have a story you'd like to share, don't forget about Toronto Stories. Otherwise, feel free to use this space to vent, rant, share a story and/or ask a question of the hivemind.

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I Want Your Toronto Stories

I Want Your Toronto StoriesMy podcast with Elvis is on hiatus for the rest of the summer while he's overseas, and that's giving me a chance to start a project I've been mulling over for a while now.

But I need your help... listen to this awesome guy explain the concept.

He makes good sense, doesn't he? If you have a story you're willing to share via Skype or phone, send me a note. The story can be one-minute long or ten-minutes long, so long as it's interesting. It can feature Toronto, or just take place in Toronto. It can be funny, heartfelt, sad or peculiar.

Let me know if you have a story to share and be a part of Toronto Stories.

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Frank Castillo, Dead at 44

In MemoriumFrank Castillo was 44. He pitched for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2000, recording a 10-5 record with a 3.59 ERA in 24 starts. His career record was 82-104 with a 4.56 ERA.

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Michelle is 9 - Happy Birthday, Baby!

Michelle is 9 - Happy Birthday, Baby!Dear Michelle,

I can't believe my baby girl is 9-years old. Enjoy your last year of single-digits!

I'm so very proud of you and your zest for life. You know I love you and will always be there to support you, encourage you, coach you and hang with you. You're smart, sweet, funny and talented. I'm a very lucky daddy.

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I can't believe that young lady was once this little girl:

Happy Birthday, Michelle!

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The Annual Yellow Pages Waste

The Annual Yellow Pages WasteI live in an apartment building, and every year at this time I witness the great Yellow Pages waste.

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These massive books sit there for residents, but only a very few older souls bother to take one. In 2013 the Yellow Pages are giant books of wasted paper and huge annoyances that often go straight to the recycling bin.

But they do make decent tinder for camp fires!

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Shoes for my Friends

Shoes for my FriendsI have a pair of Reebok RealFlex shoes that I wore once. I played volleyball in them but they were too small for me and I switched to a larger size.

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These Reebok RealFlex shoes are size 8.5 and in amazing condition. I love these shoes, and I'm more than happy to give you this pair.

If you'd like these shoes leave me a comment or send me a note and we'll arrange the transfer. I don't want a penny for them, just for them to be worn and loved.

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A Swing and a Belt and Shirley Cheek's Speech for Tom

A Swing and a Belt and Shirley Cheek's Speech for TomTo honour legendary Blue Jays radio broadcaster Tom Cheek's Ford C. Frick Award, Saskatoon rapper Matt Brotzel aka RationaL released "A Swing and a Belt". If you grew up with Tom Cheek calling Jays games, you'll probably dig it too.

Tom Cheek was honoured with the Ford C. Frick award for broadcasting at the baseball Hall of Fame yesterday. Here's the speech Tom's wife Shirley delivered.

Thank you Jane Forbes Clark, Jeff Idelson and members of the Hall of Fame. On behalf of our family I’d like to express sincere thanks to the members of the Frick committee for voting Tom this wonderful honor.

Also thanks to Brad Horn, Whitney Selover and Becky Ashe for looking after my family and guests so well this weekend.

Congratulations to Paul Hagen of Philadelphia for winning the Spink award. Also tomorrow’s inductees and honorees.

Since December 1, Tom has been honored by the Vermont Association of Broadcasters, the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, and now, the pinnacle of awards, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum here in Cooperstown.

“Hello Toronto Blue Jays fans!…”

Those of you who have travelled here today to be a part of this ceremony. It means a lot to all the Cheek family that you are with us to celebrate Tom receiving this prestigious award. Thank you so much for coming!

I would like to introduce my family; Tom and I were truly blessed by having three wonderful children, Tom, Lisa and Jeff. All three have made us proud. All are here to see their father honored, along with their wives and husband … Lisa, Amanda and Karl. The Cheek blood lines run deep: we have seven wonderful grandchildren Megan, Thomas and Matthew, plus Erik and Branden, Jackson and Jennings.

Tom’s sister Linda and her husband John are with us today , unfortunately her twin … Elizabeth and her husband David could not be with us today but we are all thinking of them.

Also my sister Ethel … and 25 nieces, nephews and cousins and many close friends.

Tom grew up in Pensacola, Florida and he never forgot his roots. I came across some notes he had made to begin a second book. These are Tom’s words, “a defining moment from whence my awareness and love for the game sprang would have to go back more than 60 years to the dusty roads and crackling heat of the Florida Pan Handle. You would have had to know Will Lindsay, my grandfather, who took me to see my first professional game at Legion Field in Pensacola, Florida, my home town”! Tom would tell everyone that Pensacola Beach was the whitest beach next to White Sands, New Mexico. Tom loved surf fishing and looked forward to vacations in Pensacola as often as possible.

He served in the United States Air Force in Plattsburgh, N.Y., where we met. Our journey together was incredible. A month after we were married in 1959, Tom was sent to Ben Guerir, Morocco to a SAC Air Force Base where he completed his tour of duty. While there, he played on a basketball team and met Leo Padelino, who is with us today!!

After his discharge, living in Champlain, N.Y., one mile from the Quebec Border, Interstate 87 connecting Montreal to New York City was under construction. Tom needed a job and a paycheck. He was hired. He often told this story about his foreman leaving him in charge to make sure the cement poured for the overpass was the right mix … example XYZ combo and not YZX … Tom was never quite sure that it was the right mix but … 50 plus years later I’m happy to report that overpass is still “STANDING”!!!!

Next venture took him to Saranac Lake, N.Y. as a night supervisor where construction had begun on a missile site. The first thing Tom did when the foreman unrolled a blueprint was to make sure the signature was on the bottom right hand corner indicating the diagram was right side up … talk about “bluffing your way into a job“!!!! The best day of Tom’s life was when the government declared the missiles “obsolete!” Clearly construction was not Tom’s forte!

Driving home to Champlain he’d hear a commercial about pursuing a career in radio broadcasting. The message spoke to Tom. He followed his dream and enrolled into the Cambridge School of Broadcasting in Boston.

His first radio job was in Plattsburgh, N.Y. … then a jump across the lake to Burlington, Vt. Tom began as a DJ working every shift. He grabbed a rate card and sold “air” and eventually covered sports. He was the voice of St. Michael’s College basketball and covered football and hockey for The University of Vermont.

Hard to believe … but yes, he even had a Sunday afternoon bowling show … on radio! If Tom were here he would want to say “thanks to Frank Balch and George Cameron,” two men who believed in him and supported him thru his years in Vermont radio.

As sports director at WVMT Radio, one of the network stations carrying the Montreal Expos, Tom was asked to guest announce on Wednesday night games while Dave Van Horne moved over to TV. This turned into a three-year stint and began a life long friendship with Dave.

It also led Tom to Len Bramson who had obtained the radio rights for the Toronto Blue Jays. Tom was always grateful for Len’s support and belief in him, Len would be very proud of Tom today. As a native of Hemmingford, Quebec this had special meaning to me. The Expos were the foundation for Tom’s baseball broadcasting career.

Tom’s first assignment for the Blue Jays began in January 1977. He, along with manager Roy Hartsfield travelled all over Ontario and Up-State New York talking about a baseball team that really didn’t take form until spring training. This became an annual event, and referred to as the Caravan. Tom would emcee introducing and interviewing players and coaches and telling stories. He loved meeting the local people, from big cities to small farming towns exchanging stories and learning the history of the area. He was the constant over the years for the ball club and the link to the fans.

After Tom’s consecutive game streak ended he received several letters congratulating him on his achievement. Many people would refer to Tom as the “Ironman” on his consecutive game streak …. so it was nice to receive one such letter from the true ironman … Cal Ripken Jr.

Another came from George Steinbrenner … he put it this way … “27 years, 4,306 games is a very long time to announce baseball. Let me put it another way – if you announced only one game a week at your current high; it would take you 83 years to get to 4,306. Now that’s impressive”!

What truly amazes me, impresses me and shows once again what a powerful medium radio is, is the fact that after seven years fans across Canada have not forgotten Tom. I’ve heard from Blue Jays fans from British Columbia to Newfoundland expressing support and congratulations. Each year Jay’s fans voted and voted for Tom. From the bottom of my heart … thank you!

I’d like to extend my thanks to the Toronto Blue Jays and extended family, especially Paul Beeston, Howie Starkman, Pat Gillick, Gord Ash, Jeff Ross, Doctor Ron Taylor and Ken Carson.

Time does not allow me to name all who have supported Tom. You all know who you are from the clubhouse up to the front office … many of you took his money playing golf…. I think everyone has a “Tom Cheek golfing story.”

You listened to him complain about not getting a king size bed or a hotel room high enough to block the traffic noise, or to much light in the room … thumb tacks were a must in Tom’s travel kit … tacking the curtains to the wall to block that sliver of light … and yes, many of you still mention to me how you miss Tom singing on his way from the clubhouse up to the radio booth.

Yes, he even serenaded me with his rendition of Elvis!

There were 10 managers and numerous coaches during Tom’s 27 years broadcasting baseball. Two coaches who are present today are Galen Cisco and John Sullivan. One manager that certainly stands out is Cito Gaston with back to back World Series Championships!

Thanks Cito … Galen and John for being here today.

In 1981 Jerry Howarth joined Tom in the radio booth and remained his partner until spring training 2005. Thanks Jerry!

Thanks also to Mike Wilner, the third man in the booth and his tireless effort getting the word out to vote. Over the years without the men and women behind the scenes there would not be a broadcast.

A special thank you Paul, Tom, Gerald, Nelson, the two Sue’s, Dale, Frances, plus Vicki … who never gave up the good fight lobbying for Tom, and all who worked hard to make the broadcasts run smoothly, and of course engineer Bruce Brenner.

Tom was proud of a lot of things he accomplished … one he was most pleased about was mentoring a former Jays catcher who gave the booth a try after he retired. He’s now the television voice of the Blue Jays. Thanks to Tom’s dear friend and golfing partner, Buck Martinez, for a lifetime of support.

Thanks to all who worked on TV, there are too many to mention but you all know who you are … also the newspaper writers who have always been so kind to Tom. Thank you!!!!!

A few weeks after Tom passed away I came across a notebook that he had jotted down memories. One of the pages were his reflections on baseball. These were Tom’s words:

Reflections on Baseball

BASEBALL is: Hot dogs and peanuts – scoring a close game on a warm afternoon, sipping on a cold beer.

BASEBALL is: “Down in front”, the 7th inning stretch, say hey, and the President throwing out the first pitch.

BASEBALL is: “Joltin’ Joe”, “Big Train”, “The Splendid Splinter” and “When the fat lady sings.”

BASEBALL is: the greatest game in the World and it belongs to YOU and ME!

Many fans contacted me when Tom passed away, with emails and cards; they began by saying “Tom, was the voice of summer.” One fan wrote this: “It has been said that our birth and our death are two things that we cannot control – only the interval in between. “WOW”, what an interval this class act enjoyed!”

Another wrote “Tom, touched a city, a province and a country bringing people together with a game!” They would also tell me that his most famous sentence was “Touch ‘em all, Joe! You’ll never hit a bigger home run in your life!” Yes, Tom you have come a long way from that dirt street in Pensacola to realizing your dream and today being recognized and honored by your peers.

To our grandchildren, Megan, Thomas, Matthew, Erik, Branden, Jackson and Jennings … you don’t remember much about “Pop Pop” but he loved you unconditionally … this is your legacy!

Now to paraphrase … ”thank you all for coming, from the oldest Cheek (that’s me) … to the youngest we’ve never had a bigger day in our collective lives. You have touched us all!”

Thank you!

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I'm Responsible for First TFC Win at BMO Field in Over a Year

toronto fcElvis and I catch a TFC match from the supporters section at BMO Field at least once a season, but this year he was called out of town and couldn't make it. I still got the tickets though, and took my wife.

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Down 1-0 to Columbus Crew late in the 2nd half, the skies opened up. We got drenched, but we also got an unexpected surprise. TFC scored in the 87th minute to tie the match. The goal ended a goalless drought of more than 420 minutes.

#TFC win! Soaking wet fun!

Then, with the rain continuing to fall hard, TFC scored again in the final minute of injury time for their first win at BMO Field in over a year.

You're welcome, TFC fans.

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James Camping: Then and Now

James Camping: Then and NowOn July 9, 2005, I snapped this picture of James during his first ever camping trip at Killarney. He was 3-years old.

Killarney

I snapped this picture on July 22, 2013 at Pinery. He's now 11-years old.

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JJ Cale, Dead at 74

In MemoriumJJ Cale was 74. Over the years, Eric Clapton recorded several of his compositions including “After Midnight”, "I'll Make Love To You Anytime”, “Travelin’ Light”, "Angel" and "Cocaine" which remains a Clapton concert staple to this day.

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What Did I Miss Open Mike

Open MikeI'm back from camping and slowly catching up on what I missed.

I see Todd Shapiro is gone from the Dean Blundell Show, I see Dennis Farina passed away and I see the Jays have really shit the bed.

We had an amazing time but all good things come to an end. I'll post pics later. Use this space to do whatever the heck you want.

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Camping in the Ford Edge

Camping in the Ford EdgeI enjoyed the 2013 Ford Edge so much when I drove it to my wedding last month, I borrowed it again for our camping trip this week.

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This time, instead of Tuxedo Black, we went with Ruby Red.

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It's great for highway driving and roomy as heck. We fit two tents, six sleeping bags, a propane BBQ, a propane stove, a big cooler, chairs, food and clothes for four people and assorted camping essentials without a problem.

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We had the Edge index my 427 song playlist and never heard the same song twice there or back. That was awesome.

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Indie88 Countdown

Indie88 CountdownAt indie88.com right now you'll find a countdown to their launch on July 31st at noon. Their tagline is "giving great music a home" and this is what they're touting on their countdown page:

We're giving great music a home and want you to be part of it. Tell us what you think and wanna hear. When the countdown is over, just hang a left on the dial until you hit 88.1 FM.

Adam Thompson is the Program Director and Alan Cross is helping him as an "in house music counsellor" which he says is "a more fun term than consultant."

It all sounds promising and I'll be listening with high hopes.

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Todd Shapiro Fired From Dean Blundell Show: What Happened?

radioEdge 102 (or CFNY if you're an old guy like me) has removed all traces of Todd Shapiro from their website. Here's what Dean Blundell had to say:

A lot of you people have been asking about what’s going on with Todd and where he is. I’m sad to say no longer with the show, leaving the morning show team here at the Edge.

I have no idea if Todd Shapiro was fired or whether he left on his own. If he quit, I don't know why. He hasn't tweeted from @iamToddyTickles since July 11.

Jason Barr was fired from the Dean Blundell Show almost three years ago and now co-hosts a morning show on 97.7 HTZ-FM.

If anyone knows what happened to Todd, let me know in the comments. And Todd, if you're interested in an interview to clear the air, contact me.

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Gone Camping Open Mike

Open MikeI've gone camping.

While I'm gone, feel free to use this space to vent, rant, share a story and/or ask a question of the hivemind.

2012-08-20 16.35.13

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Getting the Hang of Power Outages

Getting the Hang of Power OutagesFriday evening, that little thunder storm knocked out our power for almost five hours. That was less than two weeks removed from the storm that knocked out our power for almost 24-hours. I'm starting to get the hang of these power outages.

Friday, for example, wasn't inconvenient at all. In fact, it was pretty sweet. I lit some candles, grabbed my crank radio with flashlight and my George Carlin anthology and chilled.

At 9pm I was reading Carlin with the flashlight while listening to the Jays game. It was like camping without the bugs.

Speaking of camping, it always amuses me that these power outages present such a major inconvenience yet I'm camping with the family next week and that means no lights, no TV, no computers, no fridge, no microwave and no A/C.

Of course, there's a reason camping is fun while power outages are a pain in the ass. It's all in the planning...

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Helen Thomas, Dead at 92

In MemoriumHelen Thomas was 92. She was the first woman to join the White House Correspondents' Association, and the first woman to serve as its president. Her career covering the White House dated back to the Kennedy administration.

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It's a Done Deal Open Mike

Open MikeWe bought a house!

Feel free to use this space to vent, rant, share a story and/or ask a question of the hivemind.

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I Love This Heat

I Love This HeatAccording to Twitter, it's hot in Toronto. I'm told it feels like 44°C out there. Lots of people are complaining, but you won't hear me bitching about the heat.

To borrow a phrase my buddy Mark just used on his blog, the hotter the better. I've never deemed Toronto weather to be too hot. Evidence of this is the fact I didn't hesitate to bike during yesterday and today's lunch hour. In fact, yesterday I recorded a personal best for that particular route.

Most everyone disagrees with this, but I think there is just something about that thick heat that presents a challenge -- either you fight it, or you embrace it and take it in. I think the latter is the only way to deal with it. If you embrace the heat and just to decide to let it soak in (and soak you), it becomes extremely energizing.

I agree 100%. I embraced the heat long ago and love it.

The hotter, the better.

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Your Blog Sucks: Episode 6

Your Blog Sucks: Episode 6In this 6th episode of Your Blog Sucks, elvis and I discuss things that suck. There's trucks with balls, my mom's GBs and much, much more. This episode is exactly 32:44.

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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Ross Winters Fired as Program Director at 102.1

radioThere was a time when complaining about the demise of CFNY / 102.1 the Edge was what we did best over here. Our primary target was usually Program Director Ross Winters who prompted former Edge DJ Barry Taylor to label the station "Top 40 with grunge".

Corus Entertainment has just given Ross Winters the boot. The man who let Martin Streek and Barry Taylor go, brought us Fearless Fred from Edmonton, said farewell to Jason Barr and Bookie, is no longer Program Director at CFNY.

Cool Steve might have said it best. "The alternative format is left without a good home to represent it." We're left with our MP3 playlists, Spotify, satellite radio and music blogs.

The Edge became dull long ago.

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The Beginning of the End for Honest Ed's

The Beginning of the End for Honest Ed'sHonest Ed's discount store is up for sale. The Bloor and Bathurst property is likely worth a small fortune and with Walmarts and Targets popping up everywhere, this is the beginning of the end of Honest Ed's.

When Ed Mirvish passed away in 2007, I shared my memories of the place. Here's what I wrote about Honest Ed's.

Honest Ed Mirvish passed away earlier today, and that's got me thinking about the man and what he meant to this city. His annual Christmas turkey giveaway is legendary and Mirvish Productions has brought a great deal of theatre to Toronto, but I'm going to focus on more personal memories of Ed.

My mom often told me stories about going to Honest Eds with her mother. It was always a big event and these trips were highlights of my mom's childhood, as money was tight and bargains were to be had. My grandmother, who was born the same year as Ed, led these Honest Eds expeditions and she would glow when she spoke of Ed Mirvish.

If there was a big event to celebrate, my grandmother would invite the entire family to Old Ed's Warehouse at King Street West and Duncan Street. Old Ed's Warehouse, in her opinion, was the place to go. It's since closed, but I have memories of getting dressed up to go to Old Ed's Warehouse for an English cut of roast beef, rolls, kosher dill pickles, mashed potatoes, Yorkshire pudding and canned peas, not exactly a kid's ideal meal.

For years I attended a school near Bathurst and Bloor for one day a week. We'd take the subway to Bathurst and I'd see those lights and signs which always brought a smile to my face. I didn't personally shop at Honest Eds, but I liked knowing I could go there and score a 99¢ tee shirt if I needed one.

Honest Ed was a Toronto institution who gave us Honest Ed's and Mirvish Productions, but I'll always remember him for the stories he gave my grandmother and mom. He will be missed.

Honest Eds

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Still Not a Done Deal Open Mike

Open MikeBuying a house sure is fun. We're close, but it's still not a done deal.

Feel free to use this space to vent, rant, share a story and/or ask a question of the hivemind.

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The Pan Am Path

The Pan Am PathToronto city council votes Tuesday to approve $1.9-million to support the Pan Am Path. The Pan Am Path is an ambitious bike route that would connect over 80km of trails across Toronto.

Starting at the Claireville Reservoir in the west end of the city, the Pan Am Path follows the Humber River down to the waterfront, traversing the Martin Goodman Trail to the Don River where it continues North before transferring to the Hydro Corridor in the East end of the city. The trail follows the corridor to Highland Creek where it ends at the shore of Lake Ontario, just a few minutes south of Rouge Park.

Here's the map of the Pan Am Path, which would be ready by the 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games.

I hope we build this path. We deserve it.

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Cory Monteith, Dead at 31

In MemoriumCory Monteith was 31. He played the character Finn Hudson on the hit TV series Glee.


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I Miss My Boy

I Miss My BoyIt's been almost two weeks since I drove my son to overnight camp in Huntsville. I miss him terribly.

I can handle not seeing him for two weeks, although that's tough in its own right, it's not hearing from him at all that's has me missing my boy.

Handsome James

While at camp, they can't phone or email or contact home, unless it's an emergency. So while no news is good news, absence makes the heart grow fonder and I can't wait to give him the biggest hug of his life tomorrow.

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Work it Kitty

WORK IT KITTY™ - available at www.workitkitty.com - was created by cat hotel owners Kate and George for TEMPTATIONS® treats. It is a fun and easy way to get felines active without investing in a gym membership.


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House Buying Open Mike

Open MikeBy George, I think we've found one!

Feel free to use this space to vent, rant, share a story and/or ask a question of the hivemind.

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 45

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 445In this 45th episode, Rosie and Mike chat about the torrential downpour and Toronto flooding, Mike's house hunting, Rosie's renovations, Dave Bolland's stick and Rosie delivers the speech she wishes she had given at Mike's wedding. This episode is exactly 39:58.

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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Flood Aftermath in West Deane Park

Flood Aftermath in West Deane ParkI sometimes bike a path that goes through West Deane Park. I have no idea what it's called, but it starts near Eglinton and Martin Grove and loops back at Kipling and Burnhamthorpe. It very well may be named West Deane Park.

It's a good lunchtime trail in that I can do it in less than 30 minutes, but two days after The Rainfall, it was more like an obstacle course. Parts of the trail are under a foot of water, other parts are blocked by fallen trees. It was actually a lot of fun.

Flood Aftermath in West Deane Park

Flood Aftermath in West Deane Park

Flood Aftermath in West Deane Park

Flood Aftermath in West Deane Park

Flood Aftermath in West Deane Park

Flood Aftermath in West Deane Park

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Whoomp! (There It Is) vs. Whoot, There It Is

Whoomp! (There It Is) vs. Whoot, There It IsWhen my power returned yesterday evening, I blurted out "I've got the power!". I was channeling Snap! who had a hit with the song in 1990.

The Power made me think of similar pop-rap hits in the early 90s. Naturally, I remembered that time two songs shared the same chorus...

In 1993, 95 South released "Whoot, There It Is". One month later, Tag Team released "Whoomp! (There It Is)".

Here's 95 South's "Whoot, There It Is":

And here's Tag Team's "Whoomp! (There It Is)":

Despite the fact the choruses are almost identical, they're otherwise completely different songs. Interestingly enough, both songs charted on the Billboard chart at the same time. "Whoot, There It Is" peaked at #11 and "Whoomp! (There It Is)" peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

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Flood Aftermath in Etienne Brulé Park

Flood Aftermath in Etienne Brulé ParkI just took a walk along the Humber River in Etienne Brulé Park. I've walked this park since I was a toddler and never in my life have I seen the river so high. I've seen the park overwhelmed by glaciers, but I've never seen this.

Flood Aftermath in Etienne Brulé Park

Flood Aftermath in Etienne Brulé Park

Flood Aftermath in Etienne Brulé Park

The day after, this city is retaining a whole lotta water!

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Powerless Open Mike

Open MikeI am without power, so this will be a powerless Open Mike

But feel free to use this space to vent, rant, share a story and/or ask a question of the hivemind.

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Final Thoughts on the 2013 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 R-Spec

Final Thoughts on the 2013 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 R-SpecShortly after I got my driver's license, in the very early 90s, my mom's car was a Hyundai Stellar. It was the worst car I ever drove, and that includes my first car, an '86 Ford Escort hatchback.

My experience driving my mom's Stellar was so poor, my thoughts about Hyundai automobiles have been tainted ever since. I knew the new Genesis would fare better, but I didn't have the highest of hopes.

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I can tell you with all sincerity that my week with this luxury sedan was a delight. It was extremely comfortable, completely silent, and full of pep. The 429-horsepower V8 engine and 8-speed automatic transmission made our drive to Huntsville and back a whole lot of fun.

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Returning to my standard '99 Protege I now totally miss the keyless entry and ignition, the heated and cooled seat, the auto-defogging system and rear camera and proximity warnings. Not to mention the coolest entertainment and navigation controls yet.

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This wasn't my mom's Hyundai. This was an amazing machine for far less than you'd guess. I'm now wondering if the Accent might be what the doctor ordered when my old beater finally bites the dust.

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Biking as an Influencer Over Where You Buy a House

Biking as an Influencer Over Where You Buy a HouseAs a teenager, I practically lived on my bike. If I could bike there, that's how I got there. I biked to university, I biked to work, I biked for fun, I biked everywhere possible.

This past year, I rediscovered my love for biking. This summer, I've been trying to bike as much as possible. Instead of swimming every weekday at lunch, I'm splitting that time between the pool and bike. Today at lunch I went for this 10.69km ride.

Screenshot from 2013-07-08 12:50:45

Sidebar: I wrote about the MapMyRide app last year. I use it to record my rides and it makes the entire experience that much more fun. Every km there's an audio update with regards to time, distance travelled and speed. If you bike, I highly recommend it.

Biking has become such a key part of my spring, summer and fall that it's become a major influencer over where we're looking to buy a home. It can't just be a 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom detached home I can afford, it has to be located in as bike-friendly a spot as possible.

I love biking Toronto.

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The Game We Almost Always Play

The Game We Almost Always PlayMy brother Ryan made a great speech at my wedding last month, and I've got a copy of his notes. This is an excerpt from his speech in which he tells the tale of "the game we always play" and "the game we almost always play".

I recall a baseball game we made up and I believe it was Mike who named this game "the game we always play". Months later, we revised the game and renamed it "the game we almost always play" and for years it became the game we always played... almost every day.

Despite that fact, I'd still hear Mike yell out "who wants to play the game we almost always play?". In hindsight, we had an astounding lack of imagination for names and it's just funny how we always played the game we "almost always play" instead of "the game we always play".

He also named our home plate Herman and I vividly recall the day he went missing. We had a big backyard and I'd spend hours outside searching for this piece of wood. It took a long time before I gave up and it just speaks to how much I looked up to Mike... him naming that base Herman made it special.

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David Clarkson Signs with Leafs

leafsIn addition to locking up Tyler Bozak for five years ($21 million) the Leafs have signed David Clarkson to a seven-year deal worth $36.75 million.

Clarkson's 29-years old and scored 15 goals and 24 points for the New Jersey Devils in 48 games last season. He's a physical player who can score goals and he's a proud Toronto boy.

clarkson

Not to mention he's definitely one of the best UFAs available this year. I like this deal.

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House Hunting Open Mike

Open MikeI'm in full house hunting mode. Be vewy, vewy quiet.

But feel free to use this space to vent, rant, share a story and/or ask a question of the hivemind.

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The Systematic Elimination of Maple Leaf Mikes Continues

Leafs Systematic Mike EliminationWhen the Leafs traded Mike Brown to Edmonton, I became concerned. Were they eliminating Mikes from the team?

Earlier this week, the Maple Leafs used one of their compliance buyouts on Mike Komisarek, officially ending the Mike Komisarek era in Toronto. Earlier today, the Leafs used their last compliance buyout on Mikhail Grabovski. Mikhail, as you likely know, is just a Bulgarian / Belarusian / Russian Mike.

grabovski

Two compliance buyouts and both used on Mikes. The systematic elimination of Maple Leaf Mikes continues...

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A Small Wrinkled-Ass Paper Bag for Trinity Bellwoods Park

A Small Wrinkled-Ass Paper Bag for Trinity Bellwoods ParkOffiicials are going to crack down on alcohol consumption in Trinity Bellwoods Park. That got me thinking about Major Bunny Colvin and his paper bag monologue during the second episode of the third season of The Wire.

Here it is if you're unfamiliar with The Greatest Show On Television, Ever™.

And if a small wrinkled-ass paper bag isn't available, a tallboy fits perfectly in a Tim Horton's extra large cup.

tallboy

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 44

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 44In this 44th episode, Mike and Rosie discuss his recent wedding, the loss of Tony Soprano, the Mad Men finale and Scribbles. This episode is exactly 38:45.

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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Hyundai Genesis Gets the Dashboard Right

Hyundai Genesis Gets the Dashboard RightMost of the automobiles I've driven lately have a touch-screen navigation / entertainment system. Sure, you can navigate them manually, but they really want to be touched.

This Hyundai Genesis Sedan I'm driving this week is controlled by this solid and convenient dial. It's like a joystick you turn and it's super intuitive and feels a whole lot safer. Here's a pic of the dial.

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It was easy to preset my favourite satellite, AM and FM stations, or plug in my Android device to play from there.

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These dashboards have come a long way in recent years, but I'm really impressed by what Hyundai has done with it. The entire experience this week has been solid.

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Shit Could be Worse... This Could be Cleveland.

Shit Could be Worse... This Could be Cleveland.If you're lucky enough to be my Facebook friend, you'll know my cover image is Oscar the Grouch proclaiming "shit could be worse." Oscar's right. This could be Cleveland.

shitcouldbeworse

Before you label me a Cleveland hater, I need to explain myself. I frequently look at the professional sports landscape in Toronto and shake my head. Excluding the CFL and Rock, and you'll understand why I'm excluding them, we haven't had a championship here since 1993. Hell, the Leafs, Raptors and Jays haven't won a playoff series between them since 2004. We're in quite the drought.

But we're not Cleveland. Cleveland has an MLB, NBA and NFL team, and they used to have an NHL team. Cleveland hasn't had a championship since 1964 when the Browns won the NFL title. That was before there was a Super Bowl. Furthermore, the Indians have the second longest drought in MLB and the Cavs have never won the NBA championship.

But wait, there's more. There was Red Right 88, The Drive, The Fumble, Jordan over Ehlo, the Move, Mesa's Choke in Game 7, LeBron Quitting, The Decision, etc.

So without a doubt, things are bad in Toronto, but shit could be worse.

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Off to Huntsville Open Mike

Open MikeIt's Tuesday, I'm driving to Huntsville, and it's time for another Open Mike.

Feel free to use this space to vent, rant, share a story and/or ask a question of the hivemind.

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Every Rib Vendor Sign at Centennial Park's Ribfest

Every Rib Sign at Centennial Park's RibfestWe biked to Ribfest today at Etobicoke's Centennial Park. In addition to the tasty ribs and pulled pork sandwiches, my favourite part is the big signs promoting each vendor.

If you weren't able to make it to Ribfest this year, here are the signs you missed.

Sticky Fingers

Sticky Fingers

Texas Rangers

Texas Rangers

Silver Bullet

Silver Bullet

Horn Dawgs

Horn Dawgs

Hawgs Gone Wild

Hawgs Gone Wild

Crabby's BBQ Shack

Crabby's BBQ Shack

Bad Wolf Barbecue

Bad Wolf Barbecue

Camp 31

Camp 31

Billy Bones BBQ

Billy Bones BBQ

Bibb's Bar-B-Q

Bibb's Bar-B-Q

Pistol Pete's Smokehouse

Pistol Pete's Smokehouse

Blazin BBQ Ribhouse

Blazin BBQ Ribhouse

Jack Your Bones

Jack Your Bones

Kentucky Smokehouse

Kentucky Smokehouse

Gator BBQ

Gator BBQ

Uncle Sam's BBQ

Uncle Sam's BBQ

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Your Blog Sucks: Episode 5

Your Blog Sucks: Episode 5In this 5th episode of Your Blog Sucks, elvis and I discuss things that suck. You don't want to miss hearing about the great lasagna theivery! This episode is exactly 28:29.

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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146 Years of Canada Lovin' Blog Entries

canadaHappy Birthday, Canada! You're 146 years young today.

Over the past 10.5 years I've written quite a bit about you. All of those posts can be found at http://www.torontomike.com/o_canada/, but here are a few of my favourites, in the order I wrote them.

  1. Vimy Ridge
  2. O Canada! (2003 Version)
  3. A Distinct Identity
  4. Blame Canada
  5. Reason Number 32
  6. Our Other Anthem
  7. The Maple Music Revolution
  8. My Ten Favourite Song References to A Canadian Place
  9. Best Canadian Movies
  10. Top 100 Canadian Songs: The Definitive List
  11. D'oh Canada!
  12. My Ten Favourite Canadian Albums
  13. Helping Fukuoka, Japan Celebrate Canada Day
  14. 117,000 Reasons to Remember
  15. Canada Owns Podium in Vancouver
  16. A Part Of Our Heritage Vignettes
  17. Our Gift of Tulips From Princess Juliana of the Netherlands

Happy Canada Day!

O Canada

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