August 2014 Archives

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Baby's First Solid Food

Baby's First Solid FoodIt was a milestone morning in my home as sweet baby Jarvis enjoyed his first taste of solid food. My wife made him some oatmeal with breast milk and I think he liked it.

Here's the before, during and after photographic evidence.

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Jarvis eats oatmeal

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This Jays-Jeter Love-in is Bollocks

This Jays Jeter Love-in is BollocksI'll preface this entry by stating the obvious. Derek Jeter has had a fantastic career, and deserves to be voted into the Hall of Fame. He's never been linked to performance enhancing drugs, he's always been classy and he's won.

Derek Jeter is also a career Yankee. I don't understand the Derek Jeter love-in currently in full swing at the dome. On Sunday, prior to the game against the Yankees, Jeter will be honoured with a gift from the Blue Jays organization. That's unnecessary and inappropriate.

The Jays shouldn't be giving gifts to opposing players, especially New York Yankees who never suited up for the Blue Jays. And I understand, after receiving his gift from the Jays, Jeter will give a speech and acknowledge us poor Jays fans. I don't need that, do you?

Jeter was a classy player with a great career, but he's also a New York Yankee, and this weekend's Toronto-Jeter lovefest is bollocks.

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102.1 the Edge Shuffles Show Deck

102.1 the Edge Shuffles Show DeckJust this past March, Fearless Fred switched from mornings on 102.1 the Edge back to afternoons and a new morning show of Dominik Diamond, Josie Dye and Greg Beharrell took over.

Now it seems Fearless Fred is back taking care of the morning shift with co-host Melani and Josie Dye has been moved to 2pm-6pm. Greg Beharrell has moved out west and Dominik Diamond is MIA.

For 25 years the 102.1 morning show was anchored by Humble and Fred and then Dean Blundell, but since Dean's dismissal, there's been a bit of back and forth. We'll see if Fearless Fred (who claims to really, really hate me) sticks this time. I wish him luck.

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 11.36.20 PM

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 89: Mark Hebscher

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 89In this 89th episode, Mike chats with Mark Hebscher about his years on Global's Sportsline, his relationship with Jim Tatti, his fight with Dave Stieb, his years at Q107, 640, The Score, Sportsnet and CHCH, his recent feud with Mike Wilner and more. This episode is exactly 1:25:23.

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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Friday Open Mike

Open MikeWelcome to this week's Friday 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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The Final Whaler

The Final WhalerWhile I was unplugged for a few days earlier this week, Jean-Sebastien Giguere retired. He was the last former Hartford Whaler playing in the NHL. He played eight games for the Whalers in 1996-97.

It's the end of an era. Assuming Chris Pronger doesn't make a comeback, there are no more Whalers in the NHL.

giguere

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2015 Buick Enclave: It's Roomy!

2015 Buick EnclaveWhen my third kid was born, family trips suddenly required five seats. Sure, our little Mazdas have five seatbelts, but that doesn't leave much room for camping gear or playpens or coolers..

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Last Friday, we took baby Jarvis on his first road trip to Muskoka The good people at GM Canada hooked me up with a 2015 Buick Enclave, which comfortably seats seven. That's five seats for passengers and two seats for cottage and baby gear. It was perfect.

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In addition to being extremely roomy, it's ridiculously smooth and powerful with IntelliLink and all the tech you'd want in a modern SUV. It also has a whack of driver alert features, like Side Blind Zone Alert, Lane Departure Warning and Forward Collision Alert. Not to mention the rear vision camera.

Yep. All five of us fit in the Buick Enclave. #big

I'm returning the 2015 Buick Enclave tomorrow, but I'll miss it. My car doesn't have Bluetooth or a single USB port.

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Watch Paint Dry Live

paint

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Questions for Mark Hebscher

Questions for Mark HebscherI will be sitting down later this week with Mark Hebscher, best known as co-host of Sportsline. He'll be dropping by to record an episode of my podcast Toronto Mike'd, and I get an entire hour to ask him anything I want.

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I know what questions I'll be asking him, but I'd love to know what you would ask him. What questions would you like me to ask Mark Hebscher?

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Daily Photo: Black Lives Still Matter

Black Lives Still MatterI spotted this protest banner hanging over Lake Shore Blvd West by Palais Royale during a bike ride with the kids this afternoon. It reads "BLACK LIVES STILL MATTER #DONTSHOOT".

#dontshoot

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Cottaging on Oxtongue Lake

Cottaging on Oxtongue LakeI have returned from a short trip to paradise.

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We rented cottage #7 from White Birches Cottage Resort and enjoyed hot and sunny days on Oxtongue Lake. There was plenty of swimming, kayaking, canoeing and barbecuing and all five of us had a blast.

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That's right, this was sweet baby Jarvis's first trip anywhere and he handled it like a champ.

Cottage

If you're looking to rent a cottage in Muskoka, I suggest you give Jenny at White Birches a call at 1-800-263-4794. She's not only a regular commenter here, she's also a swell lady who will take care of you. Here's Jarvis and me with her and her son Jason.

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Richard Attenborough, Dead at 90

Richard AttenboroughRichard Attenborough was 90. He won two Academy Awards for directing and producing Gandhi and is best known for his roles in Brighton Rock, The Great Escape, 10 Rillington Place, Miracle on 34th Street and Jurassic Park.

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A mature reflection on a recent discovery

The following words belong to an acquaintance of mine.

I came across something the other day that I thought I’d share with you. Not that it’s something that I regularly play with, but as a novelty I slipped onto an online gaming site. As it happens it was the 32Red online casino website, but I figure it could have been any one of a number of similar sites that are cropping up targeted specifically at Canadians. I’ve not done an awful lot of research for this. They’re out there if you go looking for them. I imagine they’re pretty similar..

The thing is, as regular readers will know, I’m pretty wedded to my mobile devices (see my list of apps from my post back in January). So it was really only a matter of time before I started adding to my list of regular stop offs..

Sports stuff aside, the way I use my mobile is pretty much task oriented. I tend to use it for what I like to think of as work and what the rest of my family call ‘Sam being Sam’. So this was a little excursion into an unfamiliar territory: Just pure selfish, self- indulgent amusement, just for the heck of it. Well I did think I might write about it, but that came later. Like I say, one way or another it fitted into the category of ‘Sam being Sam’ pretty quickly. It wasn’t life changing and I don’t imagine it’s something that I’ll make a daily habit of, but it was quite interesting for all that. I’d describe it as being like taking a peek into another universe. I guess that’s how casinos have always presented themselves, as a kind of theatrical super reality – ‘this is what life could be like’. But I have to say, I really wasn’t ready for just how slick the whole set up seemed to be..

There were something like 500 different games on there. You’ve got to ask yourself who they’re all for at some point, but there was no denying just how well made the whole set up was. Someone somewhere has gotten really serious about this sort of business I told myself. Who’d have thought it?.

Somehow I’d expected it to be a bit primitive. It was anything but..

Now I’m not much of a gambler. In fact, I don’t even know for sure if I think it’s something that makes the world that much of a better place. But it’s interesting to begin to see just what a big deal online gambling has become (that ‘big deal’ pun was an accident by the way. But I’ve left in in because it made me smile)..

After five minutes of happy Googling I had learnt that the Canadian online gaming industry is worth something uphill of a billion dollars a year. That’s enormous – way bigger than I ever imagined. I’m wondering if I’m in the wrong business!.

I did find myself wondering why they call it ‘gaming’ but I guess it’s not hard to see why you’d try and present what you do in the most favourable terms. I can’t hang them out to dry for that. And clearly there is a market for all those games. That billion dollar figure points to an awful lot of customers..

The thing is, who are all those people? They can’t all be casual sightseers, which is how I’d classify myself. I don’t know that I’ve ever been anywhere that people have started up conversations based on their online poker hobby or their love of slots. How has this industry gotten so enormous without anyone talking about it?.

OK – I know what you’re thinking. There are one or two other online industries that are pretty well developed and which aren’t necessarily the stuff you’d discuss over dinner with the vicar. I know that. But I honestly had no idea that all this gaming was going on..

It made me think. What else is going on out there that I don’t know about? Are you people out there collecting vintage wines without telling me, or following Spanish bullfighting? Are you opening orphanages in different continents or inventing whole new sports without me knowing?.

Listen. I’m supposed to be some sort of a social commentator. If you guys are going to do all this stuff and not tell me about it, something’s not right. You’re not playing fair. That’s it. I’m taking my toys in, and I’m not coming out to play for the rest of the day. So there!

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Jeff Healey's Grave

Many moons ago, an old Irish relative was visiting my grandmother while I was visiting her in Gilford, Ontario. This gentlemen proceeded to tell me that jazz and blues-rock vocalist and guitarist Jeff Healey was related to us somehow. I forget the details, but Jeff Healey was supposedly my second cousin twice removed or something to that effect.

Today, while visiting Park Lawn Cemetery, I found Jeff Healey's grave site and took a couple of pictures.

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It's worth noting that in the early stages of planning my wedding, while we were picking the music, I made an impassioned plea for Jeff Healey's Angel Eyes. It didn't make the final cut, but I still think it's a sweet ditty.

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Friday Open Mike

Open MikeWelcome to this week's Friday 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 88: Raymi the Minx

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 88In this 88th episode, Mike chats with Raymi the Minx about her longtime blog, quest for fame, and how she deals with her haters. This episode is exactly 1:05:03.

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

Here I am getting Minxed.

raymi

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

Toronto Mike'd Podcast

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Toronto As Seen From the International Space Station

toronto

[via @astro_reid]

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Dylan Armstrong Wins Bronze in Men's Shot Put

Dylan ArmstrongDylan Armstrong has been awarded a bronze medal in men's shot put for his effort at the 2008 Beijing Games.

This is a result of Belarusian shot putter Andrei Mikhnevich receiving a lifetime ban for doping.

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Tuesday Open Mike

Open MikeWelcome to this week's Tuesday 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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Top Canadian Podcasts: 5 I Recommend

Top Canadian Podcasts: 5 I RecommendI enjoy listening to a podcast or two throughout the day while I hack away at projects. Here are five Canadian and frequently updated podcasts I highly recommend.


Taggart and Torrens

Jeremy Taggart and Jonathan Torrens share great stories and totally bring the Canadianity.

On the web: https://soundcloud.com/taggart-and-torrens/

On Twitter: @TAGGARTnTORRENS


Geeks & Beats

Alan Cross and Michael Hainsworth discuss technology and music.

On the web: http://www.geeksandbeats.com/

On Twitter: @GeeksandBeats


The Todd Shapiro Show

Todd Shapiro hosts his own daily podcast and it's great.

On the web: http://www.thetoddshapiroshow.com/

On Twitter: @toddshapiroshow


Humble and Fred Radio

Humble and Fred record two hours every weekday.

On the web: http://www.humbleandfredradio.com/

On Twitter: @HumbleFredRadio


Toronto Mike'd

Full disclosure: this one is mine but I sincerely think you'd like it.

On the web: http://www.torontomike.com/podcast/

On Twitter: @torontopodcast

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The 2014 Terry Fox Run

terryfoxWhen raising money for The Ride to Conquer Cancer earlier this year, I'm sure I promised not to hit you up for donations to my Terry Fox Run this year. At the time, I was concerned with donation fatigue. It's tough to beg for money and then do it again a few months later.

Then I re-watched Steve Nash's documentary about Terry Fox, Into the Wind, and realized I owe it to Terry to promote my run, even if I drained the swamp earlier this year. I will be participating in the Terry Fox Run on September 14 and I am collecting pledges here.

Please give what you can, and if you haven't seen Into the Wind yet, I found it on YouTube. Here's part one:


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My Cereal Problem

My Cereal ProblemWhen I go grocery shopping, I can't resist buying a box of our preferred cereal when it's on sale. Even if we have a couple of unopened boxes of Cheerios, if No Frills has it in their flyer, I'll pick up another box.

This is the top of our refrigerator right now. The cereal comes in faster than we can eat it.

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Harold Ballard's Grave

One of my favourite stories told on my podcast was Jeff Marek sharing the story of how he ended up burying Harold Ballard. If you haven't heard the story, I strongly urge you to check out episode 74.

Yesterday, as has become my Friday ritual, I found myself in Park Lawn Cemetery and started thinking about Jeff's story. I texted him to find out where exactly Harold Ballard was buried.

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It's a little tough to find, but I eventually found Pal Hal's tombstone near the northwest corner of the cemetery. There's the monument, and on the ground, Harold Ballard's flat grave marker.

BALLARD

Pal Hal

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Daily Photo: Ward and Patch

Ward and PatchI used to frequent Ward and Patch, a sporting goods store on Annette just east of Jane. It closed a few years ago, and is now a hardware store, but in the back alley you can still find an old Ward and Patch sign.

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Friday Open Mike

Open MikeWelcome to this week's Friday 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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I Worked at the CNE. I Have Stories to Share.

CNEThe Canadian National Exhibition opens tomorrow. I worked at a game booth across from The Polar Express in 1989, 1990 and 1991, so I've seen some stuff.

Here are a few stories I've shared over the years about my years working at the CNE:

If you read nothing else in my 12696 entry archive, read those CNE entries. Trust me, you'll never look at a carnie the same way again.

Pop-A-Ball

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Podcasters Are Not Your Role Models

Humble and Fred Are Not Your Role ModelsI just caught up on the recent controversy involving my friends Humble and Fred. I have a few thoughts on the subject.

Humble and Fred have been podcasting daily for almost three years now. They sign up sponsors who pay actual money. At some point, I have to figure out how to do this for Toronto Mike'd, but I digress...

Their newest sponsor is Ashley Madison. Ashley Madison's slogan is "Life is short, have an affair". The boys did what they do when a legal company offers them cash and espoused the virtues of this service. In other words, they celebrated a company that enables and encourages affairs.

This has rubbed many the wrong way. Humble and Fred present themselves as folksy everymen and hearing them push Ashley Madison's services initially seems a little off-brand. Nobody wants to hear Fred telling listeners you can discreetly cheat on your wife in less than 48 hours.

I get it, but I also know Humble and Fred personally and talk to them often. I don't think there's a legal business on the planet they'd turn down. I don't think Humble and Fred make good morality role models nor do I think they should assume such a role.

These are guys who celebrate the fact they'll take donations for a food bank and bring home all the good stuff. When Fred's not returning used items to Costco, Humble's talking about his visit to an adult spa or driving while high. These guys put it all out there, as raw as ever, and that's what makes their show work.

But they're not role models, and if you look up to them as such, that's on you, not them. And if you don't like hearing them espouse the virtues of Ashley Madison, you don't have to listen. But if this is the straw that broke the camel's back, I'd question how closely you've been listening these past few years...

Use Ashley Madison's services if you wish, but don't do it because Humble and Fred told you to. Because life is short, and Humble and Fred are not your role models.

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Canada's Wonderland #PricelessToronto

The forecast for today called for lots and lots of rain. I was eyeballing the hourly forecast last night wondering if I should cancel our trip to Canada's Wonderland or go for it. I decided to go for it.

I've made a handful of wise decisions in my life, and this was one of them. The forecast kept people away from the park and we enjoyed a full day of sunshine and rides without lines. Seriously, there were no line-ups at all. We walked onto every ride we wanted to enjoy.

We also saved a bundle of cold hard cash thanks to MasterCard and their Priceless promotion. You can learn about the savings when you pay with your Mastercard here.

My oldest son isn't much for thrill rides, but luckily for me my daughter shares my love of a good roller coaster. This was a great day.

Canada's Wonderland is perfectly empty this morning

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Lauren Bacall, Dead at 89

Lauren BacallLauren Bacall was 89. She was the Oscar-winning actress best known for her roles in “Key Largo,” “The Mirror Has Two Faces,” “Designing Woman,” and “To Have and Have.”


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Tuesday Open Mike

Open MikeWelcome to this week's Tuesday 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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Robin Williams, Dead at 63

Robin WilliamsRobin Williams was 63. He was the Oscar-winning actor and comedian who starred in the TV show "Mork and Mindy" before starring in such interesting films as "Good Morning, Vietnam", "Dead Poets Society", "The Fisher King" and "Good Will Hunting".

On a personal note, his "Popeye" is the very first movie I ever saw in theatres and his "Mrs. Doubtfire" is the only movie I ever saw with my grandmother. We both laughed out loud several times.

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QuickHitz: Why I Don't Hate It As I Should

QuickHitz: Why I Don't Hate It As I ShouldFM 90.3 CKMP in Alberta has switched to a format they call QuickHitz where they promise listeners “twice the music” by cutting all of its song times in half, to an average of two minutes.

I should hate this idea, because you can't just chop a song in half and consider it the same song, but I don't.

Earlier this year, I shared a story about tuning into 92.5 one Friday morning.

I was driving my kids to school this morning and my daughter wanted to hear some 92.5. I put it on and they're not playing their typical top 40 songs but instead they're playing a big fat megamix by DJ Clamaxx (not sure I'm spelling that right - I need to Google this guy to get it right).

It's the top 40 hits you'd expect from 92.5, Katy Perry, Kesha, Rihanna, Miley, etc., but just the fun parts and in brief spurts with old school tunes and a lot of 90s rap. It was actually pretty fun.

And when they're mixing Rihanna with Cyndi Lauper, I get to do a little history lesson...

So it got me thinking... why not do the mixes all the time? You get the catchy Miley refrain, then some Biggie mixed with the latest Kesha hit... With these pop songs, you don't need the entire 3.5 minutes... just throw the one verse and chorus in the mix!

And of course, I've written many times about my fondness for Girl Talk, both Feed the Animals and All Day. For the unaware, Girl Talk is Gregg Gillis who mashes up tunes to create brilliant new tunes. You're lucky if you get 30 seconds of a tune with Girl Talk, but it's awesome.

So I can't join the legions who think QuickHitz is the worst thing ever. As I previously wrote, with these pop songs, you don't need the entire 3.5 minutes...

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Friday Open Mike

Open MikeWelcome to this week's Friday 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 87: Andrew Walker

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 87In this 87th episode, Mike chats with Andrew Walker about his move to The Fan 590, working with Mike Richards and then Greg Brady, replacing Jim Lang and lots of interesting Toronto sports radio stuff. This episode is exactly 1:00:02.

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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Summer

James and Daddy play catch, Jarvis watches

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Is Your Car Older Than Mine?

Is Your Car Older Than Mine?I've been driving the same car for 15 years and 2 months.

Are any of you driving a car that you've owned for longer than that?

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 86: Summer Songs

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 86In this 86th episode, Mike spins ten of his all-time favourite songs about summer. This episode is exactly 36:02.

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 Episode 86: Summer Songs

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Tuesday Open Mike

Open MikeWelcome to this week's Tuesday 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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Bobby Cox Blue Jays Cap Ad

Bobby Cox Blue Jays Cap AdBobby Cox managed my Blue Jays to our first ever AL East division pennant back in '85. I watched or listened to every game that season, and I remember McDonald's selling Jays caps for $1.99..

Here's the ad for the promotion featuring Bobby Cox, courtesy of Retrontario.

Bobby would leave us after this season for Atlanta where he'd go 2149-1709.

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54-40 Was Great - What's the Best Free Concert You've Ever Seen?

Last night, I saw 54-40 at a free concert in Colonel Samuel Smith Park. They sounded great, playing all their hits (and there were many) and we had a blast.

54-40 have a shitload of hits

It was this little dude's first concert.

Baby's first concert #54-40

As a kid, I saw several "free" concerts at the old Ontario Place forum, but you had to buy tickets to the park to see the show, so it wasn't really free. As a young man I biked to Yonge and Dundas to watch Sloan perform a free concert outside the Edge 102 studio. I thought that was pretty awesome.

What's the best free concert you ever attended?

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Merging Social Media Accounts

Over the past year we’ve seen the rebranding of several Toronto staples, namely the LCBO and the Beer Store. While the logos have only been affected so far, branding changes may spill over into their online profiles at some point. So if they want to rebrand their social media accounts they’ll have to make some technical changes so that their online followers can continue to keep up with the latest ‘booze’ news without missing a beat.

beerstore

lcbo

It got me thinking: how do you keep your online following after rebranding, or even merging? I’ve done some exploring on social media sites to find a solution. So when and if companies decide to rebrand or merge, subscribers can easily find them.

Twitter
When you change your username on Twitter, it will also change your URL. And, you’re done. You can even change your name multiple times, if you’re indecisive. This is about as easy as it gets when it comes to merging or rebranding social media accounts.

Facebook
Twitter is my preferred social media site, but most brands have multiple online presences and Facebook is almost always the next stop. When you want to change your address and name on Facebook, make sure you choose wisely. You only have one opportunity to do so. The same applies for vanity URLs.

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LinkedIn
LinkedIn makes it easy for companies to merge accounts or rebrand. All you have to do is change your company name in the settings area. Then LinkedIn will automatically update the URL to reflect your new name. Sometimes you will be left waiting, so feel free to contact the site if your URL has not been updated within a few days.

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Remember: your company’s LinkedIn account is always associated with a person at your company. So make sure that the creator is a long-term member of the team. Managing LinkedIn pages is usually left up to a digital marketing professional, but creating the page should always be done by the CEO or another permanent member of staff.

Google My Business (Formerly known as Google Places)
While you can change the name of your company, Google My Business does not offer a way for companies to change their vanity URL if a merger or rebrand has taken place. So you are stuck with the old one. As of now, the only change you can make is casing of the letters.

This is the only situation in which you will have to create a new page if you want to reflect the new brand. However, you can’t transfer reviews from an old page to a new one. With Google My Business, you are stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to merging or rebranding.

Other Accounts
After tackling the big online presences, it is a good idea to claim accounts for your new brand on other social media sites. While Pinterest and Instagram may not be everyone’s cup of tea, you may want to have these accounts handy for future use. Who knows? Maybe, someday, Pinterest may be a great fit for marketing your brand or next new product.

For Mergers: Which Account To Keep?
Since there is no way to actually combine two social media accounts, you’ll have to pick which one you want to move forward with. This usually comes down to choosing the account with more followers. Then on the other account, be sure to redirect all of those followers to the newly rebranded page.

Changing and merging your social media account settings is the easiest part of a rebrand or merger. It should only take a few days to update your accounts to make sure that you maintain your web presence and social authority.

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Friday Open Mike

Open MikeWelcome to this week's Friday 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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