March 2015 Archives

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Tuesday Open Mike

Welcome 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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Long May Dámaso García Run!

The other day, I started thinking about former Blue Jays second baseman Dámaso García. García was one of my first favourite Jays and he hit a bases loaded triple when I was at Exhibition Stadium for the first time. The man played a sweet second base, hit for average and stole a shitload of bases.

Did you know Dámaso García is third all-time on the Blue Jays career stolen bases list? Only Lloyd Moseby and Roberto Alomar stole more bases as a Jay. Today, García is best known as the guy who burned his uniform in '86. That doesn't happen every day. But García's proper claim to fame, and the reason he periodically pops into my mind, is that he's been cheating death for decades.

García was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor in 1990. In 1991, he was told he had six months to live. That was 24 years ago, and he's still with us.

Long may he run.

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Transparent

I am currently a Rogers internet customer, so they've given me their new streaming service for free. If I turn my television to channel 300, there's Shomi.

Amidst the usual stuff you find on many streaming services are a few gems. For example, they carry the Amazon Prime series Transparent. Last week, I decided to give Transparent a try.

Full disclosure: I am partial to anything featuring Jeffrey Tambor. I've been digging him since The Ropers, and I thought he was brilliant as Hank Kingsley on The Larry Sanders Show, as well as George Bluth Sr. and Oscar Bluth on Arrested Development. Transparent doesn't just feature Jeffrey Tambor, it revolves around him, and he's brilliant.

The music is great, the characters are fun, the subject matter isn't played for laughs but treated tenderly with great sensitivity. If you weren't questioning gender roles before, this series will change that.

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If you've suddenly got Shomi on channel 300, do yourself a favour and watch Transparent. I can't wait for season two.

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What's the Best Internet Plan in Toronto?

I have a question for the hivemind. What is the very best internet plan in the city?

Recently, I've spent time with both Teksavvy and Rogers. Where would you direct someone looking for reliable high speed internet who wants to download at high speeds with a cap that can accomodate a healthy dosage of Netflix and the like?

Discuss "What's the Best Internet Plan in Toronto?" (72 comments so far)


Future Shop, 1982 - 2015

News broke this morning that all Future Shop stores have been shuttered, effective immediately. 66 are gone for good while 65 will be turned into Best Buy outlets.

The end result will be the loss of 500 full-time and 1,000 part-time jobs. What irks me is the complete lack of notice. Employees learned Future Shop was closing via Twitter, essentially, or when they showed up for work this morning and found the doors locked. A little notice would have been nice.

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When Best Buy acquired Future Shop back in 2001, I wondered why they were keeping both brands and running them as separate entities. Often there would be a Future Shop nearby a Best Buy and it seemed as if they were cannibalizing each other. Today's announcement doesn't surprise me in the least.

I just feel bad for those who just learned their jobs have disappeared.

Discuss "Future Shop, 1982 - 2015" (17 comments so far)


Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 116: Rick Hodge

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 116In this 116th episode, Mike chats with Rick Hodge about the Sunday Funnies, why he left Roger, Rick and Marilyn and CHUM-FM, what happened at EZ Rock and CFRB and we discuss the time I "torpedoed" him. This episode is exactly 1:01:58.

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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Friday Open Mike

Welcome 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

Discuss "Friday Open Mike" (69 comments so far)


Coronation Street Mysteries

Random observation time...

Often, I'll watch the CBC Toronto news either at 5pm or 6pm. Forever, they'd shut it down at 6:30pm for Coronation Street. The opening chords of the Coronation Street soundtrack is etched into my cranium.

Then, a short while ago, this song was replaced by the opening theme of Murdoch Mysteries. I'm not sure what happened to Coronation Street, but I imagined Corrie fans going apeshit at the change. I suspect Corrie fans are the type who really, really hate change.

Now, all of a sudden, Coronation Street is back at 6:30pm after the CBC Toronto news. It's opening song is my queue to turn off the telly.

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Did they switch back because the Coronation Street faithful wrote a massive number of letters to the CBC? Was the outcry so loud they had to reverse their decision?

Just wondering...

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Why Ranked Ballots Are Better

John Tory supports ranked ballots in the next civic election. This is great news.

The "first past the post" system we currently have forces people like me to vote strategically instead of voting for the person they'd like to lead. For example, those who wanted Olivia Chow to win, but were afraid a vote for Chow would help Doug Ford win, would be able to rank their candidates so a vote for Chow isn't a vote for Ford.

This video explains how it works.

Ranked ballots all but sink Ford Nation, so there's that added benefit as well.

Discuss "Why Ranked Ballots Are Better" (6 comments so far)


Tuesday Open Mike

Welcome 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

Discuss "Tuesday Open Mike" (77 comments so far)


Tron Mini Flying Discs in My Shreddies

At some point, cereal boxes stopped containing toys. Now it's all about web codes and such. That's too bad, as getting the toy out of the box of cereal was a staple of my mornings in the early 80s, but that was a different time.

In the early 80s, I ate a lot of Shreddies. I think it was my favourite cereal for years. I have vivid memories of the cool toys I'd find in boxes of Shreddies, especially the Tron mini flying discs in 1982.

Earlier today, someone on Reddit asked about the demise of the cereal box toy, and that sparked a nostalgic trip down memory lane. Next thing you know, I'm Googling the Tron mini discs I so loved in '82, and a good man named Jason came through for me.

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Who Is Mason Reese And Why Is He Crying?

I love compelling audio. I love a good story and learning new things. Yesterday, while driving the family home from my son's hockey game, I tuned into CBC Radio One and heard Jonathan Goldstein on Wiretap airing an episode he originally recorded for the Gimlet Media podcast Reply All.

Goldstein was talking about falling down a rabbit hole of YouTube nostalgia and staring down a figure from from his early childhood. Mason Reese was that figure.​

Goldstein's memories of Mason Reese date back to the early 70s, just before my time. I completely missed the Mason Reese era, and was fascinated to learn he was an advertising phenomenon who appeared in dozens of commercials for everything from Dunkin' Donuts to Raisin Bran. He built his career on this Underwood Chicken Spread ad, which included the adorable spoonerism, “Borgasmord.”

Then, Goldstein happened upon this clip of Mason Reese crying on the Mike Douglas Show. It was uploaded by Mason Reese himself. You've got to see this.

Why was Mason Reese crying because Harry Chapin was going to play Cat's in the Cradle? There was only one way to find out. Goldstein needed to track Mason Reese down and ask him. The result is precisely what I love about good podcasts and documentary-style radio shows like this: a compelling story in which I learn something new.

Here's the full episode:

And the Mike Douglas Show, which I had never seen, has an awesome logo I could totally steal.

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Thank You Steve Nash

Steve Nash is far and away the greatest basketball player this country has ever produced. This is Nash country.

On December 5, 2007, I took my kids to see the Toronto Raptors take on Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns. At the time I thought it was important that they see the greatest Canadian basketball player who ever lived. Little did I know he wouldn't retire until today, almost eight years later.

Steve Nash

Thank you Steve Nash for an outstanding 19-year NBA career in which you twice won MVP honours, tallied the third-most assists in league history and assured your place in the Hall of Fame as one of the greatest point guards ever to play the game.

Thanks to you, Canadians are invading the NBA in droves as we all aspire to play like Steve.

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Pac-Man Invades Toronto

I spent most of last week offline enjoying the kids during the March break. We rode our bikes, played some basketball and football, watched a lot of March Madness and had a blast. It was awesome.

It also meant I missed a whack of stuff. For example, Adam Sandler's new movie is called Pixels and the trailer came out a few days ago. Since the movie stars Sandler and Kevin James it's safe to assume the movie will suck, but it does feature some cool scenes of downtown Toronto being invaded by Pac-Man.

Pac-Man was my first favourite video game. I loved that game. I even loved the Commodore Pet clone Eat-Man.

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Friday Open Mike

Welcome 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

Discuss "Friday Open Mike" (38 comments so far)


Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 115: Amber Gero

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 115In this 115th episode, Mike chats with former Newstalk 1010 reporter Amber Gero about the lack of diversity in Toronto radio. This episode is exactly 1:04:50.

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

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

Toronto Mike'd Podcast

Discuss "Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 115: Amber Gero" (26 comments so far)


Tuesday Open Mike

Welcome 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

Discuss "Tuesday Open Mike" (65 comments so far)


Amber Gero Shares Frustration Over "Rampant Racism and Sexism" at Newstalk 1010

Reporter Amber Gero was let go by Newstalk 1010 last summer. She, along with morning anchor Evelyn Macko and Queen’s Park reporter Katie Franzios, were dismissed due to what Bell Media calls "synergies".

Gero had spent 14 years at Newstalk 1010, and now she's letting loose on Twitter about what she calls "rampant racism and sexism" in radio.

She even took a shot at Bell's Let's Talk initiative. Bell owns Newstalk 1010.

Is Toronto radio too white and too male dominated? Does it fairly represent the city?

Discuss "Amber Gero Shares Frustration Over "Rampant Racism and Sexism" at Newstalk 1010" (42 comments so far)


Our Twitter in 1985

Shared by @retrontario with a comparison first tweeted by @scroll, channel 10 was our Twitter in the mid-80s. Here's a snippet from July 10, 1985.

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 114: Jason Barr

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 114In this 114th episode, Mike chats with Jason Barr about his years as Danger Boy on Humble and Fred, his decade as co-host of the Dean Blundell Show and his current gig at 97.7 Htz FM. This episode is exactly 43:00.

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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Friday Open Mike

Welcome 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

Discuss "Friday Open Mike" (46 comments so far)


Red Sky

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Discuss "Red Sky" (8 comments so far)


Things I Preach Annoyingly Often

Knowing your faults is key. I'm far from perfect, but I recognize that. I say "buddin" instead of "button", for example. I also promote a few thing to an extent that some could rightly regard as annoying.

Here are three things I annoyingly preach. I'm sure there's more, but we'll start with these three...

The French Press

Keurig this and Tassimo that, everybody seems to have a favourite pod-based coffee. Then there's the set that like to buy their coffee, and they're all Starbucks this and Tim Hortons that. It all seems so wasteful, soulless and expensive to me. I've been brewing my coffee with a French Press for a decade and I doubt I'll ever stop. It's cheaper, tastier, and awfully annoying when I espouse the virtues of my French Press. Try French Press coffee and do it yourself.

The Wire

So you love The Good Wife, do you? Have you seen The Wire? The Wire is the greatest television show ever produced, did you know that? You have to see The Wire. Why haven't you seen The Wire yet? The Wire is the best. See The Wire.

Cycling

It's -20 out? Damn right I'm still biking. Stuck in traffic on the Gardiner Expressway? I recommend biking. It burns fat, costs little and revitalizes your brain waves. I've got a meeting at Yonge and Dundas tonight, and I'm biking there. Buy a bike and start riding!

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The Apple Watch Isn't For Me

I'm not an Apple guy. We all know an Apple guy or two, in fact, you might be one. Some people get very excited about all things Apple and consume Apple's latest technology with religious fervor. I'm not that guy.

Apple's introducing a watch. Appropriately enough, they're calling it the Apple Watch. There's a classy version, a sporty version and a ridiculously expensive version that really only exists to gobble up news space.

I have no interest in an Apple Watch, and not because it's from Apple, I also have no interest in a Samsung Galaxy Gear watch, which has been on the market for a while. I'm just not a watch guy.

In fact, I don't think I've worn a watch since I was a teenager. I find it too constricting. I don't even like wearing a wedding ring. I'd make a fantastic nudist.

Will you be buying the Apple Watch?

Discuss "The Apple Watch Isn't For Me" (15 comments so far)


What the Blurred Lines Lawsuit Really Means

As you've likely heard by now, a jury has awarded Marvin Gaye’s children nearly $7.4 million after determining singers Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams copied their father’s music to create the megahit Blurred Lines. Here are the two songs so you can hear the similarities for yourself.

Yes, they do sound alike, but how many other hit songs sound like older tunes they're not crediting? In my very non-scientific assessment, just about all of them. Lawyers are filing lawsuits as I type.

For a while, I used to blog about similar sounding songs, and even had a category to hold them all, but at some point I couldn't hear a pop song without hearing the songs that "inspired" them.

Uptown Funk is a big hit these days, but isn't it really just Morris Day and The Time's Jungle Love?

And Miley Cyrus's Wrecking Ball? Listen to how many songs sound like it.

There's nothing new under the sun. If Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams copied Marvin Gaye, this is just the beginning.

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Tower of Terror

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Tuesday Open Mike

Welcome 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

Discuss "Tuesday Open Mike" (47 comments so far)


Sam Simon, Dead at 59

Sam SimonSam Simon was 59. He developed “The Simpsons” with Matt Groening and James L. Brooks, and he subsequently co-wrote nearly a dozen “Simpsons” episodes during his tenure on the animated comedy, also serving as co-showrunner, character designer, creative consultant, creative supervisor, developer, and writer.

2UV2gKU

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 113: Mike Stafford

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 113In this 113th episode, Mike Stafford talks about his days at CFNY, CFRB and 640, getting high before his Jeopardy appearance and why he fired Freddie P as his best man. This episode is exactly 1:03:40.

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

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

Toronto Mike'd Podcast

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I Think We Made It

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Friday Open Mike

Welcome 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

Discuss "Friday Open Mike" (80 comments so far)


Alternative Radio Fans Rise Against CFNY Switch

With the passing of Don Berns earlier this week, it seems like an appropriate time to jump in the time machine back to 1989 when CFNY 102.1 had changed its progressive and alternative new music format to something more mainstream. How mainstream? Think Janet Jackson and Bryan Adams.

CFNY fans rebelled, as you'll read in these old clipping from newspapers and magazines at the time. The passion and loyalty is an awesome sight to behold.

I received these clippings from a reader of this blog named Frank who got them from Larry Bates, who is often cited and/or quoted in these pieces.

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Larry was ready to go again in '92, but it was a false alarm.

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Jay "Maddog" Michaels Fired

I'm very sorry to learn Jay "Maddog" Michaels has been let go from Virgin Radio 99.9 FM. He had been there since August 2006. Former partner Bilie Holiday was let go back in 2011.

If you haven't yet heard Maddog on episode 92 of my podcast, give it a listen. He was extremely candid and refreshing and it was a pleasure having him on.

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The $1-million Dream

The average cost of a detached home in Toronto is now $1,040,018, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board. For the first time ever, we've cleared the $1-million mark.

I recently bought a detached home in Toronto, but I could never afford a price tag even close to $1-million. The once modest dream of owning a detached home in a nice Toronto neighbourhood is now out of reach for so many.

Digging a little deeper, it's not all doom and gloom. The average price of a home in Toronto is $596,193, if you include semi-detached, townhouses and condos. That's still an awfully high price for your average hard working Toronto family.

I have two simple questions for the hivemind.

  1. Do you own a home in Toronto?
  2. Could you afford to buy your own home if you wanted to do so today?

Discuss "The $1-million Dream" (31 comments so far)


The Great Toronto Fire, April 19th 1904

On April 19, 1904, the largest fire in Toronto's history engulfed a large section of downtown. 118 buildings were destroyed in eight hours.

Here's some footage of the blaze.

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Tuesday Open Mike

Welcome 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

Discuss "Tuesday Open Mike" (59 comments so far)


Don Berns Dead

Don Berns He was the longtime Toronto radio personality best known for his seven years at CFNY from 1985 to 1992 and his many years as Dr. Trance, Godfather of the Toronto rave scene.

I was hoping to have Don Berns on my podcast, and when he came in, I was going to play him this vintage CFNY clip.


Discuss "Don Berns Dead" (11 comments so far)


Cycling: February 2015 vs. February 2014

February was the coldest month in Toronto's recorded history, but trust me when I tell you last February wasn't much warmer and seemed to include more snow and ice. And the analytics tell me I managed to bike a great deal more this year. Here is how my cycling in February 2015 compared to February 2014.

February 2015: 217.29 km

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February 2014: 28.47 km

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I'm chalking up this vast improvement to an improved mindset. Quite simply, temperatures I deemed too cold to bike in back in 2014 felt a great deal warmer this year. And the more winter biking you do, the more confidence and ability you gain.

My goal for 2015 remains a personal best 5,000 km. I'm currently at 609.63 km with the worst two cycling months behind me.

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