March 2014 Archives

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Tom Vu

Tom VuWho doesn't remember Tom Vu's infomercials in the late 80s and early 90s. They'd run late night at night recruiting people to attend his free 90-minute seminar where he'd share the secrets he used to make millions.

Here a clip from one such Tom Vu informercial.

When he tired of scamming people, he found an easier way to make money and turned to professional poker where he's won more than $1,500,000 in casino poker tournaments.

Discuss "Tom Vu" (4 comments so far)


Pledge My Ride to Conquer Cancer

Pledge My Ride to Conquer CancerIf you see your name below, you can skip this entry. This is for everybody else.

  1. Ellen M.
  2. Rick C in Oakville
  3. Mike Kic
  4. markosaar
  5. Speysidephil
  6. Dale
  7. Brian A.
  8. Doug
  9. Rick2
  10. Al The Royal Pain
  11. Christine H.
  12. Mike from Lowville
  13. Cheryl
  14. Il Duce
  15. Michael Muzzin
  16. Liz B.
  17. Blind Dave
  18. Alex Patino
  19. Mike Engell and Colleen
  20. Cousin Jen
  21. Aunt Maura
  22. Brother Ryan
  23. Jason from Sudbury
  24. Jamie
  25. Mom
  26. Zachary
  27. Faunie
  28. Douglas
  29. Steve M.
  30. Kevin W.
  31. Katherine R.
  32. Marie C.
  33. Erin Davis
  34. Matt W.
  35. Chad H.
  36. Nigel Trousershrapnel
  37. Brother Steve
  38. Philly-Bob
  39. Audrey
  40. TheSweaterTuck
  41. Cathy S.
  42. Tim
  43. Domenico
  44. Julie N.
  45. Helmut
  46. Daniel M.
  47. Claire H.
  48. Andrew
  49. Jackie S.
  50. Gwyn
  51. Mofo
  52. Nicki
  53. CJ
  54. 519 Rob
  55. Pete F.
  56. Glen S.
  57. Darren C.
  58. Niel W.
  59. Humble and Fred
  60. Mike P.
  61. Chris M.
  62. Adam T.
  63. Jeremey
  64. Teena in Toronto
  65. Rosie
  66. Daniel
  67. Stephanie
  68. Lorne
  69. Elvis
  70. Argie

On June 7-8 I'll be embarking on a 220km bicycle ride across Ontario in support of the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. I'm aiming to raise $4000.

Donate to my ride by clicking here and I'll be grateful. Consider it an early 40th birthday present, or do it to help conquer cancer and for my dear friend Mike Kic.

Who's with me?

Discuss "Pledge My Ride to Conquer Cancer" (17 comments so far)


The World's Biggest Bookstore Short Circuit 2 Cameo

The World's Biggest Bookstore at 20 Edward Street is now closed forever. Soon, four restaurants will be opened in its place.

In honour of its final day, here's The World's Biggest Bookstore's cameo in Short Circuit 2.

Don't be fooled by that USA Today box outside the bookstore. That really was Toronto!

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Michelle's Masterpiece

Michelle's Masterpiece

Discuss "Michelle's Masterpiece" (6 comments so far)


Surely We Can Give Gwyneth Paltrow a Pass

Surely We Can Give Gwyneth Paltrow a PassThis morning, I checked my Facebook feed. It appears I'm supposed to hate Gwyneth Paltrow now. This open letter to Gwyneth Paltrow that was published in the New York Post is being shared in anger by working moms.

From what I gather, Gwyneth Paltrow is on the shit-list because of this comment she made about raising kids while pursuing a career as an actress:

I think it’s different when you have an office job, because it’s routine and, you know, you can do all the stuff in the morning and then you come home in the evening. When you’re shooting a movie, they’re like, ‘We need you to go to Wisconsin for two weeks,’ and then you work 14 hours a day, and that part of it is very difficult. I think to have a regular job and be a mom is not as, of course there are challenges, but it’s not like being on set.

That's it? That's what has us hating her and boycotting her movies? That's all it took to offend us?

Gwyneth Paltrow is an actress. I won't take medical advice from her, but I'll enjoy her work in Shakespeare in Love or The Royal Tenenbaums. Oh yeah, and she was in Se7en, too. And if she thinks it's challenging to raise a kid when you have to go on location and work 14 hours a day, that's cool. It's just her opinion.

Could you imagine if we parsed every statement made by every actor and actress until we found ones we disagreed with and then stopped watching every movie that person appeared in? There would literally be no movies left to watch.

They're just entertainers, people.

Discuss "Surely We Can Give Gwyneth Paltrow a Pass" (30 comments so far)


Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 73: Mike's Drinking

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 73In this 73rd episode, Mike and Elvis chat about Toronto's sports teams, Arthur Chu, Mike's drinking, Elvis' taste in music and much, much more. This episode is exactly 1:01:06.

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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Open Mike

Open MikeWelcome to this week's Open Mike. I'm Mike and I'll be your master of ceremonies for the day.

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

Open Mike on Toronto Mike

Discuss "Open Mike" (81 comments so far)


SNPP: Long May You Run

SNPP: Long May You RunI was just reading about how Television Without Pity has been shuttered by NBCUniversal. The origins of Television Without Pity go back to 1998, a long time ago in the land of websites.

That got me thinking about one of my favourite television websites from the 90s: SNPP. SNPP stood for Springfield Nuclear Power Plant and was (is) where I read Simpsons episodes recaps and learned about all the stuff I missed after my initial viewing. This recap of the very awesome season four episode A Streetcar Named Marge, for example, was converted to HTML on Saturday, September 10, 1994.

At some point simpsonsarchive.com moved to SimpsonsArchive.com but it still looks exactly as I remember it. Despite being last updated in 2012, the amazing episode guide hasn't had a redesign in a very long time.

Screen shot 2014-03-27 at 2.07.04 PM

SNPP: Long may you run!

Discuss "SNPP: Long May You Run" (6 comments so far)


Still Chasing that Drive of '85 High

Still Chasing that Drive of '85 HighI get excited every year at this time as I prepare myself to chase that elusive high I experienced during the summer of '85. That was the year my beloved Blue Jays won their first pennant, and for this ten year old, there was nothing better.

I once wrote a whole bunch about the Drive of '85, so if you want to read more, here's where you want to go.

I rode that high through 1993 when we won our second World Series, but I haven't tasted it since. Still, I chase that high... like clockwork... every spring.

The Drive of '85

As far as I can tell, this year's Jays team looks an awful lot like last year's Jays team, which thoroughly disappointed. I'm betting I'll still be chasing that elusive Drive of '85 high next spring.

Discuss "Still Chasing that Drive of '85 High" (4 comments so far)


Four After-Debate Thoughts

Four After-Debate ThoughtsI tuned in for the first 15-minutes of this evening's 2014 mayoral debate. That was all I could stomach. So much sound and fury, signifying nothing. If you watched the entire thing, kudos to you.

Here are four thoughts I had after I flipped off the television.

Those Who Support Rob Ford Won't Care if He's Arrested
Those in Ford Nation who are still voting for the man are going to support him no matter what. If he's arrested next week, it won't change their mind. There's almost nothing he can do to lose their vote at this point.

Debates are Useless (and Annoying)
Debates are useless, and annoying. It's the same talking points over and over and over again. The vast majority of people enter a debate with a favourite and leave favouring that same person. It won't be someone's performance in a debate that will change your vote, it will be strategy. (See below.)

Strategic Voting is OK
As I get older, I become more and more comfortable with strategic voting. For example, one might think David Soknacki would make the best mayor for Toronto, but Soknacki can't win this election, so one might vote elsewhere to block Rob Ford from winning again. I'm okay with this. In fact, it's for this very reason that I'm encouraging all my friends and family to support Olivia Chow. In my opinion, she's our best chance to keep Rob Ford from winning.

This is a Marathon, Not a Sprint
It's only March and the election is in October. I'm already pretty tired of all the campaigning, but there's a long way to go. I'll keep a casual eye on what's happening but I'll wait until Labour Day before I completely plug myself back in.

Self-preservation, after all, is the first law of nature.

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The Incomparable Atuk Curse

The Incomparable Atuk CurseMordecai Richler's 1963 novel The Incomparable Atuk is the basis for a screenplay named Atuk that has never been made into a movie.

Many Hollywood film studios since the early 80s have wanted to make Atuk, but for a variety of reasons this has never happened. There's an urban legend that all actors interested in playing the lead character are cursed.

I don't believe in curses, but I do believe this is one hell of a coincidence. The following actors have wanted to play Atuk.

  • John Belushi
  • Sam Kinison
  • John Candy
  • Chris Farley

The Incomparable Atuk

Who would you like to see play Atuk?

Discuss "The Incomparable Atuk Curse" (9 comments so far)


My Appearance on The Todd Shapiro Show

My Appearance on The Todd Shapiro ShowI mentioned yesterday that I paid a visit to The Todd Shapiro Show at SiriusXM in Liberty Village with my friend Pete from coreFusion. You can see pictures here.

Here's how it all went down (8:21).

Download the MP3 here.

Discuss "My Appearance on The Todd Shapiro Show" (5 comments so far)


My Office No More

I made a great sacrifice for my unborn son this week. I left the comfy confines of my 2nd floor office and converted it back into a baby's room.

Here's the before:

2013-09-09 09.47.26.jpg

Here's the after:

week37-1

I'm not complaining. Making the switch was a no-brainer, and besides, I love my new space in the basement.

New office

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Toronto's New 80,000 Capacity NFL Stadium?

Toronto's New 80,000 Capacity NFL StadiumThe Canadian Soccer Association wants Canada to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup. They're proposing games in 11 stadiums in 10 different Canadian cities. Toronto would be the city with two stadiums used for World Cup matches.

What's most interesting is that the final match would take place at Toronto's NFL stadium. That's right, this sketch of Los Angeles's future Farmers Field is being used to represent our new 80,000 capacity NFL stadium.

worldcup2

The other games would be held at a renovated BMO Field.

worldcup3

Apparently, that new NFL stadium would open in 2020. No word on where it would be located, who would pay for it or which NFL team would play there, however.

Here's the ten cities in Canada that would host the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

worldcup1

Update: About two hours after I published this entry, I learned Ralph Wilson had passed away. Ralph Wilson was the owner of the Buffalo Bills. The Bills will now be sold.

Update 2: These images are not from the CSA. A fan put this together based on FIFA's requirements and the knowledge that the CSA will indeed be bidding on the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

Discuss "Toronto's New 80,000 Capacity NFL Stadium?" (58 comments so far)


My Visit to The Todd Shapiro Show's SiriusXM Studio

My Visit to The Todd Shapiro Show's SiriusXM StudioI biked the Martin Goodman Trail this morning and paid my first visit to The Todd Shapiro Show's SiriusXM studio in Liberty Village. I'd share the clip from my appearance, but SiriusXM wants Todd to wait 24 hours before sharing audio, so I'll post it tomorrow.

A little east of Dufferin on Liberty Street, I came upon this brick building at 135.

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I took my bike on the elevator and made my way to the 3rd floor. Most of this floor belongs to Hockey Night in Canada folk.

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I arrived at about 8:50am and Todd was in his studio prepping. I took this shot through the glass.

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Todd runs a slick and professional show. In addition to a board op and co-hosts, there was an actual house band. They performed a very nice rendition of Elton John's Tiny Dancer while I was there.

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I knew this was a real studio because there was lots of stuff like this everywhere. I don't have this in my home studio.

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I was there with Pete from coreFusion and we were letting people know we help people podcast. If you want a podcast, contact me and we'll chat about it.

Discuss "My Visit to The Todd Shapiro Show's SiriusXM Studio" (11 comments so far)


David Clarkson

David ClarksonOn July 5, when the Leafs announced the signing of David Clarkson, I was okay with it. In fact, I wrote that "he's a physical player who can score goals and he's a proud Toronto boy".

I will never, ever hold a player's contract against him. That's on the GM, not the player. The term of the contract and amount of money is for others to fret about, I was just pleased a player like Clarkson was coming to town.

179672962CA067_LEAF_SABR

51 games into his Leafs career, David Clarkson has been a massive disappointment. With 4 goals and 10 points to show for his efforts, he's not producing and often seems completely out of sync. Something is very, very wrong.

Clearly, Randy Carlyle doesn't know what to do with him, and when he is on the ice, he appears to be trying to do ten things at once, none of them effectively. I'm convinced this is a Toronto boy coming home and trying too hard to make an impact. The result is a hairy mess, regardless of the contract.

My Twitter feed is full of people comparing the goal total of Toronto FC's Jermain Defoe to David Clarkson's, and the point is valid. Clarkson was brought to town to score goals and he hasn't delivered.

But he's not going anywhere. That contract is unmovable. David Clarkson might be a disastrous signing, but he's our disastrous signing, so I'm rooting for one thing and one thing only: David Clarkson's redemption and absolution.

Discuss "David Clarkson" (36 comments so far)


Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

Cosmos: A Spacetime OdysseyI've watched the first three episodes of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey and it's fantastic.

It's smart fun and Neil deGrasse Tyson is a compelling host. I had high expectations and haven't been disappointed.

If you haven't been watching, figure out how to catch the first three and get on board for the final 10. Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey is terrific television.

cosmos

Discuss "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey" (32 comments so far)


3 Thoughts (Sports Edition)

3 Thoughts (Sports Edition)Elliotte Friedman regularly blogs his 30 thoughts and I'm always impressed with the quantity of observations and insight. I don't have 30 thoughts this morning, but I have a few...

John Fucking Salmons
The Raptors game last night was insanely entertaining. I only tuned in for the fourth quarter and overtimes but was mesmerized by a see-saw battle as the Raptors came within a whisker of upsetting the Oklahoma City Thunder. In fact, that game is ours if not for John Salmons who turned over an inbound pass and missed two free throws in the last minute of play. And then Kevin Durant happened...

I literally woke up pissed at John Salmons.

March Madness
The NCAA has this "First Four" thing they do before the opening round, and they've decided to call these two games the first round. That means what we know as the first round is now the second round. It's confusing and dumb. The NCAA call tell us the third round starts today, but I'm still calling it the second round.

Leafs vs. Habs
My son has a playoff game today, then it's off to the ACC to catch the Leafs and Habs from the sweet Ford Canada seats. I can't wait.

Discuss "3 Thoughts (Sports Edition)" (2 comments so far)


Free LaCoupe For Men Hair Products - Who Wants this Kit?

Free LaCoupe For Men Hair ProductsLaCoupe is going to send a Toronto Mike reader a bundle of haircare joy. This includes a combination of LaCoupe For Men products including their shampoo and conditioner, gel, styling pomade and texture molding paste. The total value of the giveaway is $48.

Warning: my hair is going to look awesome @lacoupehaircare

If you'd like to win this LaCoupe for Men kit, and you have a Canadian mailing address, simply leave a comment on this entry by March 31 at midnight. Just be sure to put your email address in the email field. I'll randomly pick a winner. Good luck!

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Female Slo-Pitch Players Needed

Female Slo-Pitch Players WantedMy slo-pitch team, Raging Storm, has only one commited female player for this summer. To play in our league, we need a few more.

We play in the west end. If we go back to the league we played in last season, we're talking the Powerade Centre near Kennedy and Derry. I'd tell you what night we play, but we aren't quite sure yet.

We've played together every summer for a very long time and I'd hate to see us skip a year because we only have one female. If you're a female who wants to play slo-pitch with me this summer, please let me know. Fun is guaranteed.

Discuss "Female Slo-Pitch Players Needed" (3 comments so far)


Open Mike

Open MikeWelcome to this week's Open Mike. I'm Mike and I'll be your master of ceremonies for the day.

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

Open Mike on Toronto Mike

Discuss "Open Mike" (58 comments so far)


Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 72: 88.1 vs. 102.1

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 72In this 72nd episode, Mike talks to audio guru Andrew Stoakley about his 88.1 and 102.1 analysis and stories from CFNY. This episode is exactly 1:02:10.

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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Help Us Find Douglas Queen

Have you seen Douglas Queen? His son is in my daughter's class and he was last seen on Monday at around 8:30 a.m. in the area of College Street and Brock Avenue.

Douglas Queen is 49-years old, white, six foot, five inches tall with grey shaved hair and a thin build. He was last seen wearing a brown golf sweater, beige pants and a blue jacket.

douglas-queen

Police are concerned for his safety and have set up a command post at Humber Bay Park near Lakeshore Blvd. West and Park Lawn Road.

Anyone with information is asked to contact 11 Division at 416-808-1100, or Crime Stoppers at 416-222-TIPS.

Update: Sadly, Douglas Queen was found dead near the water in Humber Bay Park this afternoon.

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Getting Started with Cloth Diapers

Getting Started with Cloth DiapersWith my first two kids, we used Pampers and Huggies disposable diapers. For kid #3, due any day now, we're using reusable cloth diapers.

My wife wrote a great entry about the decision here.

We decided to go with one-size pocket diapers. To start, I purchased two of the best reviewed pocket diapers: BumGenius 4.0 and Fuzzibunz Elite. We’ll get a feel for what works best for us and then get more for our stash.

wpid-cloth-diaper

Here are some tips my wife picked up during her research that might help others looking into cloth diapering:

  • Because brands have different fits, try out different ones before completing your stash.
  • Expect to do laundry every other day.
  • Have at least 2-3 dozen diapers to get you between loads.
  • Dirty diapers from exclusively breastfed babies do not need to be dumped/cleaned before throwing it into the wash. The poop is all water soluble.
  • Dirty diapers from solid foods do need to be cleaned before throwing into the wash. Liners help in these situations.
  • Certain brands of disposable liners can be re-used/washed once or twice if it’s just a wet diaper change.
  • Use disposable diapers for the first few days as the poop will contain meconium, which is sticky and not fun to deal with if cleaning a cloth diaper.

Discuss "Getting Started with Cloth Diapers" (25 comments so far)


Canadians in 2014 March Madness

Canadians in 2014 March MadnessThe NCAA men’s tournament tips off tomorrow, and there are plenty of Canadians taking part, many with key roles.

It's not just Andrew Wiggins, it's also Tyler Ennis, Melvin Ejim, Kevin Pangos and my son's friend's cousin, Nik Stauskas. Here's who you should cheer for over the next two weeks of madness.

  • Arizona State: Jordan Bachynski
  • Baylor: Brady Heslip, Kenny Chery
  • Creighton: Jahenns Manigat
  • Dayton: Dyshawn Pierre
  • Eastern Kentucky: Jaylen Babb-Harrison
  • Gonzaga: Kevin Pangos, Dustin Triano
  • Harvard: Laurent Rivard, Agunwa Okolie, Patrick Steeves
  • Iowa State: Melvin Ejim, Naz Long
  • Kansas: Andrew Wiggins
  • Michigan: Nik Stauskas
  • New Mexico State: Daniel Mullings, Sim Bhullar, Tanveer Bhullar, Renaldo Dixon
  • Oregon: Jason Calliste, Richard Amardi
  • Saint Louis: Grandy Glaze
  • Syracuse: Tyler Ennis
  • Stanford: Dwight Powell, Stefan Nastic
  • Villanova: Dylan Ennis
  • Wichita State: Nick Wiggins, Chadrak Lufile

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Open Mikes: Friday Only

Open Mikes: Friday OnlyOpen Mikes used to only be posted on Fridays. The idea was to create an open forum for people to discuss whatever they wanted. I envisioned a hivemind for queries, life hacks and respectful and intelligent discussion.

At some point, someone suggested a second Open Mike. That's when I introduced the Tuesday Open Mike.

Although there are still some interesting discussions in the Open Mikes, I can barely stand what they've become. If I'm bored and aggravated by them, I can't imagine what others think. A typical Open Mike devolves into "Ford is the best and Olivia Chow is horrible" and vice versa. Everything, it seems, is left or right and people just assume their positions.

I hate this left vs. right nonsense. I hate it passionately. Because I dislike Ford's politics and approach and bike I've been labelled a "lefty". These labels serve to do nothing more than divide and stigmatize. These labels are a big fat negative.

I'm thinking of returning to just hosting the Open Mike on Fridays. Unless you can convince me otherwise, I don't see the value of two Open Mikes a week.

Discuss "Open Mikes: Friday Only" (79 comments so far)


The Home Stretch

The Home StretchMy wife is 36 weeks pregnant today. Baby Jarvis will arrive at some point in the next month.

On Sunday, I moved my home office and podcast studio into the basement so we could start setting up his room. Yesterday, we were in Ikea picking him up a dresser. We've now got a high chair, car seat, crib and several other baby items as we anxiously await his arrival.

week35

I can't wait.

Discuss "The Home Stretch" (7 comments so far)


102.1 the Edge Mornings with Dominik Diamond, Josie Dye and Greg Beharrell

Starting March 31, 102.1 the Edge has a new morning show consisting of Dominik Diamond, Josie Dye and Greg Beharrell. This official ends the Fearless Fred experiment as he goes back to the afternoon drive where he'll be joined by Melani.

2014lineup

And yes, that is Carlos Benevides returning to CFNY after a stint at 91.5 The Beat in Kitchener.

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Tuesday Open Mike

Open MikeWelcome to today's Open Mike. I'm Mike and I'll be your master of ceremonies for the day.

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

Open Mike on Toronto Mike

Discuss "Tuesday Open Mike" (102 comments so far)


Vented Cans are Back

Vented Cans are BackWhen I was a kid, I loved visiting my friend Chris's house. Chris has cases of pop in his basement and we could help ourselves. For a 12-year old, this was awesome.

I remember he had cases of Pepsi with the press button cans. There was the one big hole for drinking, and a second smaller hole that acted as a vent. Here's what these press button cans looked like in the 1980s.

pepsi

Just when I thought I'd never see the vented can again, Coors Light is launching their vented cans. They even have instructional videos.

Do you remember the vented Pepsi cans?

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Happy St. Patrick's Day From Dublin Airport

paddys

Here's a photoset from my visit to Dublin in 2012.

2012-09-16 16.10.48

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The Canadian Euchre Rule

The Canadian Euchre RuleI hear the Habs came back from a 3-goal deficit with under four minutes remaining against the Sens last night. I missed it completely, because with the Leafs not playing on HNIC, I was participating in a family Euchre tournament. It was guys against gals and we guys were victorious.

We play with Canadian euchre rules. They're the standard rules with one key variation. When the dealer's partner orders the dealer to "pick it up", the partner must attempt the hand as a loner.

I didn't realize this was a canadian variation, i just assumed this rule was standard across the globe. I don't understand why it isn't a standard rule considering how much sense it makes.

When you play euchre, do you play with this Canadian variation? Did you know it was a Canadian rule?

Discuss "The Canadian Euchre Rule" (33 comments so far)


Bob Geldof and the Telex Machine

Bob Geldof and the TelexI've been listening to Scot Turner's Spirit of Radio Sunday on 102.1 the Edge and it's great. Earlier today, they played I Don't Like Mondays by the Boomtown Rats, a song that references a telex machine.

If you're my age or younger, you've likely never seen a telex machine. A telex machine is a printer that receives and prints text messages in the pre-fax era. In January of 1979, Bob Geldof read a telex report at Georgia State University's campus radio station, WRAS, on the shooting spree of 16-year-old Brenda Ann Spencer, who fired at children in a school playground at Grover Cleveland Elementary School in San Diego, California. Her reason for killing two adults and injuring eight children and one police officer? She didn't like Mondays.

The story struck such a chord with Bob Geldof that he wrote I Don't Like Mondays and included this lyric that ensures every generation will ask the question "what's a telex machine?"

The Telex machine is kept so clean
And it types to a waiting world

telex

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David Brenner, Dead at 78

David BrennerDavid Brenner was 78. He was the lanky, toothy-grinned "Tonight Show" favorite whose brand of observational comedy became a staple for other standups, including Jerry Seinfeld and Paul Reiser.

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Google Analytics Keywords: (Not Provided)

Google Analytics Keywords (Not Provided)Prior to September 2013, I enjoyed popping into Google Analytics and checking out the top organic keywords that brought visitors to this site. I used to share the top ten on a monthly basis. It wasn't just fun for this site, but it was awfully convenient in my professional life.

In September 2013, Google started encrypting 100% of all searches conducted by those logged into a Google account. That means the vast majority of Google referral keywords listed in Google Analytics show up as "Not Provided". If you work in SEO, you know how much this sucks.

How bad is it? According to Google Analytics, 81.46% of organic search traffic to this site in February 2014 came via the keywords "(not provided)". I'm really popular for the keywords "(not provided)", as it's been #1 for six months in a row.

Discuss "Google Analytics Keywords: (Not Provided)" (11 comments so far)


Friday Open Mike

Open MikeWelcome to today's Open Mike. I'm Mike and I'll be your master of ceremonies for the day.

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

Open Mike on Toronto Mike

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 71: Down Goes Brown

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 71In this 71st episode, Mike talks to Sean McIndoe a.k.a. Down Goes Brown about his blog, his Brian Burke parody Twitter account, the Wendel Clark All Heart video, Bob Cole, Strombo, David Clarkson and how the Leafs will do in the playoffs this season. This episode is exactly 1:15:00.

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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Pulse Check: Who Should Be Mayor?

Pulse Check: Who Should Be Mayor?Now that Olivia Chow has entered the Toronto mayoral race, let's check our pulse seven months before the election.

Leave a comment listing your preference among these top five candidates (listed in alphabetical order):

  • Olivia Chow
  • Rob Ford
  • David Soknacki
  • Karen Stintz
  • John Tory

Everyone is welcome to chime in, regardless of where you live, but let me know if you actually live in Toronto.

Who would you like to see win in October?

Discuss "Pulse Check: Who Should Be Mayor?" (118 comments so far)


Daily Photo: Blue and White

Daily Photo: Blue and WhiteI snapped this photo on Sunday durng my flight from Frankfurt to Toronto. I really like how it turned out.

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By the way, when I checked the big departures board at the Frankfurt airport, they listed my destination as Soronto.

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I Hate This CGA Ad

I Hate This CGA AdI saw this ad for Certified General Accountants on Twitter last week, and it's still irking me.

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It insinuates anyone of status would not bike to work. Only lowly, poor interns bike. The premise is that CEOs don't have to bike because they're important people who make good money.

And that's what's wrong with the perception of cycling in this country. Successful people bike, because in addition to the obvious money savings, there's positive and proven environmental benefits, health benefits and it reduces gridlock in an overly congested city.

CGA should know better.

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Tuesday Open Mike

Open MikeWelcome to today's Open Mike. I'm Mike and I'll be your master of ceremonies for the day.

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

Open Mike on Toronto Mike

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George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight Cancelled

XXXThere's lots going on in the world of George Stroumboulopoulos.

First Bob McKenzie reported that he was going to fill Ron MacLean's seat hosting Hockey Night in Canada and now CBC has announced they're not bringing back George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight next season.

Other than his annoying love of the Habs, I quite like Strombo. Not only does he know and appreciate music, but he had the integrity to quit his Corus radio show after what they did to his close friend Martin Streek.

And he was nice enough to call me once to chat about podcasting and the future of his radio show.

It's a shame to lose his talk show because he's a fine interviewer and it was usually interesting viewing. We'll see what's next for Strombo, and if there's another Rogers-owned talk show in his future.

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Ausfahrt: Guaranteed Giggle

Ausfahrt: Guaranteed GiggleIn Germany, you'll see signs that read "Ausfahrt" all over the place. Here's one:

Ausfahrt

That ensures plenty of giggles during your visit.

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Photos of Mainz

Sightseeing in MainzIt's sunny and 14° in Mainz today, so I've been out checking out the Mainz Market, soaking in the sun and snapping pictures of this beautiful city 16km east of Frankfurt.

Here are a few pics I took earlier today. And if you want to see more, here's the entire photoset.

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Mildly Interesting Cancon Fact About Mainz

Mildly Interesting Cancon Fact About MainzThree major international musical artists are scheduled to play in Mainz, Germany this summer and are being promoted throughout the city.

One is Elton John and the other two are fellow Canadians Neil Young and Bryan Adams. I find it mildly interesting that our little country so very far away accounts for 66% of the Mainz major music scene.

Mainz

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Friday Open Mike

Open MikeWelcome to today's Open Mike. I'm Mike and I'll be your master of ceremonies for the day.

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

Open Mike on Toronto Mike

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Of Sheriff, Alias and Frozen Ghost

Of Sheriff, Alias and Frozen GhostRemember Sheriff? They were a Canadian rock band that scored a big US hit with When I'm With You years after they disbanded. Sheriff was vocalist Freddy Curci, guitarist Steve DeMarchi, keyboardist Arnold Lanni, bassist Wolf Hassel and drummer Rob Elliott.

Sheriff - When I'm With You

When Sheriff broke up, Freddy Curci and Steve DeMarchi started a new band called Alias. Alias had a massive hit with More Than Words Can Say.

Alias - More Than Words Can Say

Arnold Lanni and Wolf Hassel, meanwhile, formed Frozen Ghost and had Cancon hits with Should I See and Pauper in Paradise.

Frozen Ghost - Should I See

Got it?

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Buick Regal AWD Turbo Test Drive

Buick Regal AWD Turbo Test DriveI just dropped off the Buick Regal AWD Turbo lent to me by GM Canada. I could have had it longer, but I'll be out of the country for a bit so I drove it back today.

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It was damn fun enjoying the 259hp. 259hp, but still very, very quiet. When I drove my '99 Mazda Protege home today, it wasn't quite the same.

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I'm still planning on comparing the Chevy Malibu with the Buick Regal as soon as I come up for air.

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Free Hockey Rink Survival Kit From Sunkist & Okanagan Hockey School

Free Hockey Rink Survival Kit From Sunkist & Okanagan Hockey SchoolSunkist is giving young Canadian athletes the chance to win the ultimate hockey experience at the prestigious Okanagan Hockey School. Through the VIP Sunkist Hockey Camp sweepstakes 15 lucky young Canadians will receive training from some of Canada’s hockey greats including Mike Needham, Robert Dirk and Gina Kingsbury.

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To help promote this, Sunkist is giving away a Hockey Rink Survival Kit to one of you. This Hockey Rink Survival Kit includes an Okanagan Hockey School hockey puck, water bottle, practice jersey, workout shirt, thermal mug and a pair of Sunkist seat warmers, plus a $50 gas card. Each Survival Kit is valued at $175.

Sunkist Hockey Rink Survival Kit

If you'd like to win this Hockey Rink Survival Kit, simply leave a comment on this entry by March 10 at midnight. Just be sure to put your email address in the email field. I'll randomly pick a winner. Good luck!

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Roll Up The Stress

Roll Up The StressBy now we’re all aware that Tim Horton’s is part of the fabric of this great nation. At least, that’s what their ad agency tells us. So like a lot of Canadians, most days on my way in to work I stop at T-Ho's for a coffee. I'm not surprised this ritual is a cultural institution, but I am surprised by human behaviour.

Tim Horton's locations are notoriously rammed, and this includes their drive thru’s as well. Each morning when I drive in to the lot, 99% of the time it’s blocked solid. So as I first enter the parking lot, I quickly peer into the window to gauge the gong show within. If the lineup is moderate, I’ll park and go inside. If not, I’ll keep driving and settle for the reasonably hand-drawn facsimile of a coffee I can get at my work cafeteria. This is what I don't understand about us silly humans. When the drive thru is nuts and not so bad inside, you can park, walk 20 feet and get your coffee in 3 minutes. Or, you can sit in your car, listen to terrible morning radio hosts and get your coffee in 10-15 minutes. And, aren’t most people, on average, “running a little late” in the mornings and in a hurry to get to work? I‘d hazard a guess that despite the probability of being late for work, most people wil still opt to sit in a drive thru.

And, I’m sure you’ve all seen this before, but at my particular Tim Horton’s, there are two entrances. As such, two lines form to enter the single drive thru lane, which of course increases blood pressure and causes localized road rage. Cars slowly inch forward to passively aggressively signal to the enemy in the other converging lane: “hey asshat - I was here first and you better not fuck with me by trying to slip ahead in the line” This reaction is understandable, since that would mean that the other guy gets his coffee 57 seconds earlier than you did. It really is quite comical how stress-inducing this is for people. I can see it in their faces and hear it in their horns and screams out their car windows.

See I figure life is stressful enough. We’ve got bills to pay and dick bosses to deal with. So, why place an additional layer of stress onto yourself every single morning when it’s so unbelievably easy to avoid?

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Tuesday Open Mike

Open MikeWelcome to today's Open Mike. I'm Mike and I'll be your master of ceremonies for the day.

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

Open Mike on Toronto Mike

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Rob Ford and Jimmy Kimmel

Rob Ford and Jimmy KimmelEarlier today, I had a Twitter exchange with a woman I've never met. Her name is Catherine Solmes and she's @ccath on Twitter.

Catherine seemed quite upset by Rob Ford's trip to LA to appear on Jimmy Kimmel Live. My plan was to completely ignore this story, and most of the Fords' embrace of worldwide infamy. In my opinion, the remaining Rob Ford supporters just enjoy seeing progressives aghast, and I'm not interested in feeding their perverse desires. But I could tell Catherine had something she needed to get off her chest, so I asked her to write a guest blog entry.

The following words belong to Catherine.

When news broke on Saturday afternoon that Rob Ford was on his way to L.A. to attend the Oscars and appear on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, the disbelief, anger and frustration that overflowed in my Twitter feed was telling. After all the events since the news of a possible crack video featuring Rob Ford broke last May, this reaction struck me as significant. I myself reacted with outrage, annoyance and an overwhelming feeling of helplessness. My city was, once again, about to be humiliated by the man who is a continued source of controversy and shame for so many of my fellow Torontonians.

Over the unbelievable past year, Ford had become world-famous for being the crack-smoking mayor of Toronto. Torontonians are privy to a lot more – the drug and alcohol abuse; the murderous threats; the bigotry, homophobia and racism; the gang affiliations; employing friends and associates with criminal backgrounds and little to no credentials in the Mayor's’ office; the domestic abuse allegations; the driving under the influence; the nonsensical outbursts in City Council meetings; the horrible, unrepeatable and unfounded accusations against a Toronto Star reporter; the exploitation of impoverished communities for photo ops; the public urination; the sexual assault allegations; and the unexplained and unaccounted-for absences from City Hall. It’s exhausting.

This man is not only the mayor of Canada’s largest city, he had reportedly been invited to the Oscars by Jimmy Kimmel. Ford supporters, accused those who took offense to this of being jealous. Yes, jealous. I honestly don’t know if there could be a further disconnect between those of us who want Ford gone and those who support him. It’s as if we live on different planets.

Of course, Rob Ford didn't end up attending the Oscars due to security issues (this comes from Doug Ford, so it’s likely they were never invited at all). I didn't watch the Oscars, but there was no mention of or awareness of Rob Ford among the glitterati on the red carpet or during the ceremony. Thank goodness for small favours. Knowing that the In Memoriam segment would prominently feature Philip Seymour Hoffman, who very recently died as a result of a drug overdose, Hollywood in any way celebrating “the crack-smoking Mayor of Toronto” would have been truly awful.

Tonight, he'll appear on Jimmy Kimmel Live!. While he and his brother Doug have done interviews with American media before, this feels different. This is a late-night talk show, albeit one with a less famous host, but the one which has arguably skewered him the most. Jimmy Kimmel has not only cracked jokes about him (no pun intended), he’d had an actor (Parks and Recreation’s Jim O'Heir) portray him in video clips. So what was this going to be about? Who in their right mind would allow themselves to be a willing participant on a show that played him as a joke? Who in Toronto actually believes that Rob Ford will be an intelligent and sympathetic guest for Jimmy Kimmel? Or that Kimmel will allow him to be?

Ford was accompanied on this trip by his brothers Doug and Randy, his Communications Director, Amin Massoudi, and two other staff. If this was a special trip to Los Angeles, where were his wife and kids? Doug claimed they were there to promote Toronto to the film folks in Hollywood. So I guess it’s a business trip then? If so, he neglected to mention it to Toronto’s Film Commissioner Randy McLean, whose very job it is to grow and promote the city’s film industry.

I have two theories. One, that Rob Ford is fully aware, from presumably having some understanding of the city’s budget and reputation (wow, I wrote that without sniggering), that many Hollywood films and series are shot here, that Toronto’s architecture and streets are easily substituted for many American and international cities on film and on television. With that assumption, Ford is using this as an excuse to be in L.A. and, while he’s there, take Kimmel up on his invitation to appear on the show. Here’s the kicker – Ford has had no meetings booked with studios or producers. He’s spent his time walking down Sunset Boulevard and taking photos with anyone who recognizes him (and some who don't).

My second theory is that he really thinks that L.A. film bigwigs don't know about Hollywood North and believes he is legitimately doing the city of Toronto a favour. (I wrote that, too, without sniggering or crying.) The man who votes against any motion that would benefit the city’s arts community is making a special trip to promote it to the Hollywood film industry?

I don't like to assume Ford is an idiot, because despite the truly ignorant things he says and does, he wouldn't be able to be as successful a politician as he has been. But this trip to L.A comes a few days after he claimed on an episode of his YouTube series Ford Nation that he doesn't like to be a celebrity and that he’s just your average guy, an everyman. Oh really? If you're shying from all the attention, and don't want to be photographed and have reporters follow you around, why would you chose to go to L.A. to appear on a late-night talk show? A talk show that has done nothing but mock you since they first heard of your crack use?

Ford claims he wants to be judged on his record as mayor, not his police record. Does he really think that Kimmel or anyone he meets in L.A. cares one bit about Toronto’s budget, unions, taxes or transit system? I suspect that anyone who approaches Ford for a photo or an interview is hoping that he’s high and/or drunk and banking him to say something idiotic on camera.

The episode has not yet aired, but we got a taste of it last night on Kimmel’s Oscar special. Ford wandered onto the set, in a tux, when his name was spoken. Kimmel reminded him that he was on tomorrow night’s show. Oh dear. Let’s all laugh at the “intoxicated and confused Rob Ford” as if this was a hilarious character he'd created. Let’s pretend that he’s not fully in control of his senses and wandering around in a daze. Toronto’s mayor is willing to be the butt of jokes about his drug and alcohol abuse. It’s come to this. Oh, how I wish we were the butt of an elaborate joke. Because I don't want this to be real.

Ford’s global infamy is based on one thing – he is Toronto’s crack-smoking mayor. And for having “enough to eat at home”, for refusing to step down, for having unwavering support from Ford Nation, and for having the gall to run for re-election. Some admire his balls, his determination to say and do what he feels like. Some enjoy the sheer entertainment value of it all. Some find him hilarious. Some find him relatable.

Kimmel should be ashamed of himself for having Ford as a guest. Ford should be ashamed too, but as we well know by now, he has no shame. Unfortunately, Toronto does. Anyone who continues to perpetuate this ongoing controversy is rewarding Ford’s shockingly bad behaviour and enabling a man’s dangerous downward spiral. Toronto is rightfully angry at Kimmel for following through on their “Rob Ford is a clown” bit. To us, this has ceased to be funny long ago. This isn't just making fun of Rob Ford, it is perpetuating the mockery that Ford has made of himself and the city he purports to lead. I don't know what will happen tonight on Jimmy Kimmel Live! The most likely scenario is that Kimmel will gently rib him and Rob Ford will get to showcase his “everyman” charm and laugh off his drug and alcohol abuse.

Optimists out there are hoping that Kimmel will be merciless with Ford. Considering that Ford doesn't talk to anyone who asks tough questions, and that Jimmy Kimmel Live! is an entertainment show, this is highly unlikely. What will most certainly happen is that Toronto’s mayor will glow with misplaced pride and “aw shucks” charm, chuckle at his “indiscretions”, spout his “saving the taxpayers” clichés and allow himself to look bad, very bad.

Despite what happens, it’s all going to be about Rob Ford, the crack-smoking mayor. I think this will make Toronto look even worse than it already does. And after the year we've had with this man as our mayor, that’s saying something.

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Todd Shapiro Spills More Details on Split from 102.1 the Edge

Todd Shapiro Spills More Details on Split from 102.1 the EdgeTodd Shapiro debuted his new show this morning on Sirius XM 168. You can hear it all on his awesome new website.

Although he revealed quite a bit in his interview with me last month, he spilt more beans on his show today about his split from 102.1 the Edge.

Here's a bit of what he revealed during an interview with Slutty Siri (NSFW).

Download the MP3 here.

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How Bad Is It?

How Bad Is It?It's now March, and I was shovelling snow yesterday morning and now I see it feels like -23. This winter is relentless.

How bad is it? I'm actually looking forward to the warm climes I'll experience later this week in Germany. That's right, this forecast for Frankfurt gives me hope.

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Only two years ago, this was our March here in Toronto. Memories...

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Who Wants to be Added to My Hero List?

Thanks and Pleas: RTCC 2014On June 7-8 I'll be embarking on a 220km bicycle ride across Ontario in support of the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. So far, the following awesome people have generously pledged my ride.

  1. Ellen M.
  2. Rick C in Oakville
  3. Mike Kic
  4. markosaar
  5. Speysidephil
  6. Dale
  7. Brian A.
  8. Doug
  9. Rick2
  10. Al The Royal Pain
  11. Christine H.
  12. Mike from Lowville
  13. Cheryl
  14. Il Duce
  15. Michael Muzzin
  16. Liz B.
  17. Blind Dave
  18. Alex Patino
  19. Mike Engell and Colleen
  20. Cousin Jen
  21. Aunt Maura
  22. Brother Ryan
  23. Jason from Sudbury
  24. Jamie
  25. Mom
  26. Zachary
  27. Faunie
  28. Douglas
  29. Steve M.
  30. Kevin W.
  31. Katherine R.
  32. Marie C.
  33. Erin Davis
  34. Matt W.
  35. Chad H.
  36. Nigel Trousershrapnel
  37. Brother Steve
  38. Philly-Bob
  39. Audrey
  40. TheSweaterTuck
  41. Cathy S.
  42. Tim
  43. Domenico
  44. Julie N.
  45. Helmut
  46. Daniel M.
  47. Claire H.
  48. Andrew
  49. Jackie S.
  50. Gwyn
  51. Mofo
  52. Nicki
  53. CJ
  54. 519 Rob
  55. Pete F.
  56. Glen S.
  57. Darren C.
  58. Niel W.
  59. Humble and Fred
  60. Mike P.
  61. Chris M.
  62. Adam T.
  63. Jeremey
  64. Teena in Toronto

Donate to my ride by clicking here and I'll gladly add you to that list. Consider it an early 40th birthday present, or do it to help conquer cancer and for my dear friend Mike Kic.

Who's next?

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My 2014 Oscar Picks

My 2014 Oscar PicksBelow are my Oscar predictions for 2014. Feel free to disagree in the comments.

For only the second time ever, I've actually seen all the movies nominated for best picture. And last time I did that, there were only five nominations.

Best Picture: 12 Years a Slave
Best Director: Steve McQueen for 12 Years a Slave
Best Actor: Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club
Best Actress: Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine
Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club
Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Lawrence for American Hustle
Best Original Screenplay: American Hustle: Eric Warren Singer, David O. Russell
Best Adapted Screenplay: The Wolf of Wall Street: Terence Winter
Best Animated Feature Film: Frozen
Best Foreign Language Film: The Hunt: Thomas Vinterberg(Denmark)
Cinematography: Gravity: Emmanuel Lubezki
Editing: Gravity: Alfonso Cuarón, Mark Sanger
Production Design: Gravity
Costume Design: 12 Years a Slave: Patricia Norris
Best Makeup and Hairstyling: Dallas Buyers Club: Adruitha Lee, Robin Mathews
Original Score: Her: William Butler, Andy Koyama
Original Song: Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom: Bono, Adam Clayton, The Edge, Larry Mullen Jr., Brian Burton ("Ordinary Love")
Best Sound Mixing: Gravity: Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead, Chris Munro
Best Sound Editing: Gravity: Glenn Freemantle
Best Visual Effects: Gravity: Timothy Webber, Chris Lawrence, David Shirk, Neil Corbould
Best Documentary Feature: Dirty Wars: Rick Rowley, Jeremy Scahill
Best Documentary Short: Karama Has No Walls: Sara Ishaq
Best Animated Short: Possessions: Shuhei Morita
Best Live Action Short: Just Before Losing Everything: Xavier Legrand

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