August 2015 Archives

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10 Guests I'm Pursuing for Toronto Mike'd - You Can Help!

As the summer ends, it's time to schedule future guests for Toronto Mike'd, my little podcast.

I've got some interesting people lined up, but there are ten I'm pursuing that I've yet to hear from. Everyone on this list either lives or works in Toronto.

  • Maestro
  • Bob McCown
  • Kids in the Hall (any or all!)
  • Peter Mansbridge
  • Moses Znaimer
  • Don Cherry
  • Sarah Polley
  • Jayne Eastwood
  • Ron MacLean
  • Dave “Bookie” Bookman

If you know someone on the list above personally, or know someone who knows them personally, perhaps you can put in a good word and help me make this happen.

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Wes Craven, Dead at 76

Wes CravenWes Craven was 76. He was the iconic horror director known for his work on films such as A Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream and  The Last House on the Left.

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Ode to Roy Howell

Toronto Blue Jay Edwin Encarnacion recorded nine RBI yesterday, tying a long-standing franchise records for RBI in a game. But whose record did he match?

If you guessed George Bell, Carlos Delgado or Jose Bautista, you're wrong. You're also wrong if you guessed Jesse Barfield, Jose Canseco or Shawn Green. The man Encarnacion matched is third baseman Roy Howell who collected 9 RBI in a 19-3 win against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium on September 10, 1977.

I have no memories of Roy Howell as a Blue Jay. I know he arrived via a trade with Texas during the inaugural 1977 season, and signed with Milwaukee after the 1980 season. I know he was our all-star representative in 1978 and, until yesterday, he was the only Blue Jay to record nine RBI in a single game.

Roy, meet Edwin.

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Mildly Interesting Toronto Observation: KFC Hortons

A KFC on Lake Shore in Long Branch was recently converted into a Tim Hortons, but they decided to keep the iconic bucket of Colonel Sanders chicken and simply painted it to resemble a cup of coffee.

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Despite what you'll see on reddit, I took this photo myself, earlier today. Boo to content thief thegreathall.

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God's Gonna Cut You Down

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Al Arbour, Dead at 82

Alger Joseph Al Arbour was 82. He is second to Scotty Bowman for most wins and games coached in league history. As coach of the New York Islanders, he led the team to four Stanley Cups in a row, stringing together 19 straight playoff series victories, a professional sports record.

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Open Mike

Welcome 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

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OK Blue Jays (Let's Play Ball!) Deconstructed

Our Blue Jays are two games up on the New York Yankees in the AL East. I'm absolutely loving this team that seems capable of putting up double-digits at will. It's been a long, long time since we've had an honest-to-goodness pennant race in this city, and I'm enjoying every second of it.

As the Jays' fortunes improved, I've seen the traffic to my OK Blue Jays (Let's Play Ball) entry increase. It ranks well in Google, and people have Blue Jays fever and are chock full of nostalgia. Click that link if you want to hear the song right now!

For fun, I thought I'd deconstruct the lyrics. Some of you kids probably don't have a clue who Dave and Billy are, so I'm here to fill in the blanks.


You've got a diamond
You've got nine men
You've got a hat and a bat
And that's not all

This song was written by Jack Lenz and Tony Kosinec, with help from Alan Smith and Pat Arbour, and they kindly open by explaining the fundamentals of baseball to the uneducated. There is indeed a diamond, and you do indeed field nine men. Players wear hats and hit with bats. All true!


You've got the bleachers
Got 'em from spring 'til fall
You got a dog and a drink
And the umpire's call
Waddaya want?
Let's play ball!

The dome doesn't really have bleachers, but Exhibition Stadium sure did. It was a football field that was modified for baseball. Lots and lots of bleachers, and the Blue Jays used them from spring 'til fall.


Is that a fly ball
Or is it a seagull
Coming in from the lake
Just to catch the game?

Exhibition Stadium was located where you'll find BMO Field today. It's by Lake Ontario, and that meant plenty of seagulls on the field. The dome doesn't have a seagull problem, but Exhibition Stadium sure did. Just ask Dave Winfield.


It's the last inning
Our guys are winning
Dave's put down a smoker
A strike
And you've got no doubt
(You're out!)
Waddaya want?
Let's play ball!

Here we learn about Dave who throws strikes. This is Dave Stieb, our early-to-mid 80s ace who ended the decade with the second most wins in the majors. Dave Stieb was the greatest Blue Jays starter ever, until I gave the crown to Roy Halladay. He also has the only no-hitter in franchise history.


Okay (okay)
Blue Jays (Blue Jays)
Let's (Let's) Play (Play) Ball!

Keith Hampshire is the voice behind this anthem, and he nails this chorus. When I hear it today, I break into the seventh inning stretch calisthenics.


It's a beautiful evenin', fans
At the ballpark
When the game starts
Warm summer breezes
Sun's goin' down
And it's all dark
At the ballpark
But that's okay…it's a night game

I think this is my very favourite verse. There something beautifully innocent about momentary concern when it becomes dark, only to blissfully come to the realization that it's a night game. All is well at Exhibition Stadium.


Okay (okay)
Blue Jays (Blue Jays)
Let's (Let's) Play (Play) Ball!

Keith Hampshire had a #1 hit in 1973 with his cover of "The First Cut Is The Deepest". "OK Blue Jays" peaked at #47.


Okay (okay)
Blue Jays (Blue Jays)
Let's (Let's) Play (Play) Ball!

The Blue Jays song was conceptualized by Alan Smith, Creative Director at JWT Direct. He wrote most of the lyrics together with copywriter Pat Arbour, although the first verse was written entirely by recording artist Tony Kosinec of the Lenz/Kosinec jingle house, which was hired to write the music and produce the song under Smith and Arbour's direction.


Bring on the White Sox
Bring on the BoSox
Bring on the Brewers
The Rangers and the Yankees too

Here we run down a laundry list of American League foes. Before you scream at me for including the Brewers, remember this song was recorded in 1983 and the Brewers were in the American League until 1998.


We'll beat the Indians
We'll beat the Tigers
We'll beat the A's so bad it'll make
Billy blue
Waddaya want?
Let's play ball!

The Billy that's blue because we beat his A's is Billy Martin who had a brief stint with the Athletics between New York Yankee firings. He was fired as Yankees manager five different times.


Okay (okay)
Blue Jays (Blue Jays)
Let's (Let's) Play (Play) Ball!

The song is officially credited to Keith Hampshire and "The Bat Boys". The Bat Boys were Barry Keane, Mike Francis, Roly Platt, David Sawyer, Denis Le Page, Jack Lenz, Ralph Fraser, Tony Kosinec and Laurie Bower.


Okay (okay)
Blue Jays (Blue Jays)
Let's (Let's) Play (Play) Ball!

You're forgiven if you thought Keith Hampshire was Canadian. He had his greatest success here, but he's actually British. Pity that...

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Ford Explorer Sport Test Drive

After our visit to Sandbanks, we spent a few days in the city before hitting the road again for a trip to Huntsville. Technically, we went beyond Huntsville into Dwight, but telling people you're driving to Dwight is a recipe for confusion.

For this family road trip to White Birches Cottages we drove an Explorer Sport from Ford Canada. I have a sudden interest in cars with more than five seats, and the Explorer comfortably seats seven. Perfect.

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The Sport's twin-turbocharged and direct-injected 3.5-liter "EcoBoost" V6 is good for 365 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque! If you're a guy like me, who isn't certain what that means, be assured it's awfully powerful and great fun to drive. In fact, if you want power, you won't do any better for the price.

And now a word about SYNC... SYNC is Ford's "integrated in-vehicle communications and entertainment system that allows users to make hands-free telephone calls, control music and perform other functions with the use of voice commands" and I was first exposed to SYNC back in 2008. No other manufacturer's system is as easy and pleasurable to use. I could see myself buying a Ford just to get SYNC.

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I haven't returned the Explorer yet... my oldest son and I drove it to hockey last night and it was nice not having to cram our gear inside. Over the next several months, I'll be checking out other cars with three rows of seats, but the Explorer has set the bar awfully high.

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Three Hits You Didn't Know Were Covers

Last week, I disappeared down the rabbit hole of one-hit wonders, and this afternoon I dove into the world of songs you didn't realize were covers. I'm blaming this article for lighting the spark.

Here are three songs I didn't realize were cover songs. I'm betting you didn't know, either.

"Obsession" by Animotion was originally done by Michael Des Barres and Holly Knight.

"Gloria" by Laura Branigan was originally an Italian hit by Umberto Tozzi.

Juice Newton's "Angel of the Morning" was first recorded by Evie Sands.

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The Complexity of Today's Shooting of Two Journalists

Early this morning, while broadcasting live on WDBJ7, reporter Alison Parker, 24, and photographer Adam Ward, 27, were murdered. They were shot at close range by a former WDBJ7 employee.

There's not only footage of the live broadcast, but the shooter himself took footage and shared it on the web. I've shared a link to the first video via Twitter, but have decided not to share the second video. Some feel neither video should be shared or viewed. Others feel both videos are part of this news story and fair game for public consumption. This is merely one complexity amidst many with a tragedy of this nature in this day and age.

When the name of the shooter was revealed, some felt his name shouldn't be written or spoken. He wanted fame, but all attention should be given to the victims. After all, he might get off on the infamy. I respect this argument, but still decided to share his name and picture on Twitter.

Then, there's the hot button issue of gun control. Shootings of this nature happen often in the United States, they just don't typically happen on live television. Gun control is a very serious issue, but is it one that overshadows the even more serious mental health crisis? In my humble opinion, yes. I Tweeted a screen capture of the shooter's Twitter feed, and it's clearly a mentally ill individual. Gun control is important, but mental health is often the root of violent crimes of this nature, and the mental health crisis seems grossly overlooked.

Then there's the 23-page manifesto faxed by the gunman to ABC News. Should that be shared? Should it be suppressed? Is it a legitimate part of this developing news story or a soapbox this double murderer should be deprived of?

And what about race? Was the story covered differently when the suspect was assumed to be white? What of the fact the shooter's manifesto named the recent Charleston church shooting as motivation for his actions?

Mental health, race relations, gun control... all accelerated by the immediacy of social media. It's all so very sad, and so very complex. And in 2015, everything happens lightning quick in the public sphere.

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GMC Yukon XL Test Drive

I took a couple of weeks off to spend time with the family, first camping and then renting a cottage in Muskoka. There are five of us, two tents, a cooler, several sleeping bags, a BBQ and, well, everything else. To borrow a line from Martin Brody, we're going to need a bigger car.

GM Canada came through with a bigger car. Except it's not just big, it's absolutely humongous. The GMC Yukon XL has seats for nine and a mind-boggling amount of space in the trunk. Here's the little guy for scale.

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Everything fit!

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I had come from a Mazda Protege, so it took me a little time to adapt to my new size, but in no time I forgot I was driving a small bus. It was a quiet, smooth ride to Sandbanks, and its 5.3L V8 EcoTec3 engine was a welcome change.

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What a great week!

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Daily Photo: Cottaging on Oxtongue Lake

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One-Hit Wondering

I spent some time heading down the one-hit wonder rabbit hold this morning. It all started with this interesting article about the death of one-hit wonders.

Since 1958, Billboard has released a weekly “Hot 100,” which ranks the “most popular songs across all genres.” Over the years, their ranking methodology has changed to reflect how people consume music; currently, it is measured by radio plays, sales and “streaming activity.”

We took this data and analyzed it for the number of Billboard Hot 100 songs in a given year by artists that never appeared in the Hot 100 again. In the chart below, each point represents the number of one-hit wonders in a given year. (It’s worth mentioning that the counts from 1965 to 1970 may be slightly inflated because these early one-hit wonders might have had a hit prior to the establishment of the Hot 100.)

one-hit

I once wrote about our need for a standard to define one-hit wonders. The criteria criterion used in this article is an artist who appeared in the Billboard Hot 100 once, but never again. That's fine, but it's resulted in some rather questionable data.

For example, here's what their analysis has determined to be the top 50 one-hit wonders of all-time.

1-hit

Where do I begin...

  • There's no way the Righteous Brothers are one-hit wonders. In fact, they had two massive hits with "Unchained Melody" and "You've Lost That Loving Feeling".
  • Moby's in there. That doesn't make sense unless it's because of how that song was credited as Moby featuring Gwen Stefani.
  • Same goes for Evanescence. They had a few other hits, so this must have to do with how the song was credited.
  • Tubthumping was a great single, wasn't it?

Fun article, though. I'm going to spin some Chumbawamba now...

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Thoughts on the Galleria Mall Redevelopment From Someone Who Worked There

The Galleria Mall at Dufferin and Dupont is where I worked for five long years of my life. I was a grocery clerk at the Food City there, and helped Oshawa Foods convert it to a Price Chopper.

Five years is a long time to work anywhere, let alone the Galleria Mall. When I started there, Boots was the drugstore across the hall from Food City and Zellers anchored the west end. P.M. Toronto Sports Bar was where degenerate gamblers hung out and I remember an LCBO and pet store amidst smaller ma and pa outlets. I knew the Galleria Mall like I knew the back of my own hand, having wandered around killing time during many a break.

News broke earlier this week that Freed Developments has purchased the Galleria Mall, and surely changes are coming. After all, if any piece of real estate in Toronto needs an overhaul, it's the Galleria Mall. The Honeydale Mall in Etobicoke would be a close second.

The Galleria Mall was always sad. It screamed of despair, so dark and dingy. Although the Food City and Price Chopper was always busy, inside the mall there was little foot traffic. It was so lifeless in the early 90s, I can't imagine what it's like today.

Blow it up and start again. It's long overdue.


Photo by blogto.com

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Shots Taken With the Sony RX100 IV Camera

I unplugged for a few days, so I'm only now getting to some unfinished business. I wrote about the Jays game I attended on Sunday. During the game, I was given a Sony RX100 IV camera to play with, and these are the shots I took.

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Open Mike

Welcome 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

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Daily Photo: Camping at Sandbanks

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Time Machine at the Dome

I loved our '85 Jays. It was probably the first team I followed every single day. I listened to most games on 1430 CJCL, falling asleep nightly to the sweet tones of Tom Cheek and Jerry Howarth. My favourite player was George Bell, but I loved that entire team.

This afternoon, I was lucky enough to be invited by Sony Canada to the Jays vs. Yankees. It was my second ever game in a luxury suite. Coincidentally, my first was only two days ago.

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Prior to the game, which we won 3-1 to move to .5 games back of the Yankees, I stepped into a time machine. We honoured the Drive of '85 and my 1985 Jays, and I became rather emotional. Suddenly, I was ten again.

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At a later date I'll write about the Sony RX100 IV camera I used during the game, I just wanted to quickly say the tribute to George Bell, Lloyd Moseby, Jesse Barfield, Dave Stieb, Tom Henke, Tony Fernandez, Willie Upshaw, Rance Mulliniks, Garth Iorg and Cito Gaston was awesome.

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The Windup, Pitch, and Classic Confrontation

The Windup

I was jazzed about this ballgame all day. The Blue Jays had never won 12 games in a row, but were riding an 11-game win streak. I had also never met the greatest Blue Jay of all-time, and that was on the agenda. I biked to the dome and found a great parking spot, and it didn't cost me a dime.

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This was my first Jays game from a luxury suite. I was a guest of Best Buy and Piper, and they were incredible hosts. I think I downed three hot dogs by the third inning.

I don't remember the dome being that loud and that intense since 1993. Here's a pic of my view. The entire building was electric.

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The Pitch

The free tickets and hot dogs and conversation with Roberto Alomar (did I mention I was hanging with Robbie?) came at a cost. I sat in on a demonstration of the Piper Wifi Surveillance Camera & Security System. It was actually really cool, and I'm seriously thinking of picking one up.

It's only $299 with no monthly fees, and you just plug it in and point it at entry point or the garage or wherever you'd want security. Then, from the mobile app, you create rules. For example, if motion's detected, you might want to start recording, get a text, turn on a light, or even sound an alarm. And at any time from anywhere you can check things out, watch the video, change the ruleset, or whatever. The Piper, developed right here in Canada, is actually pretty awesome. You can buy it from Best Buy right here.

Robbie Alomar has a couple at his place, and after he told us about that, I thanked him for hitting that homer off of Eckersley.

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The Classic Confrontation

The Blue Jays have still never won 12 in a row. As you know by now, the Yankees scored 4 in the eighth to ruin the party, but it was intense until the last pitch of the game.

With two on and two out in the ninth, Tulowitzki battled through 12 pitches. All 46,689 of us stood and held our collective breath for all 12 of them. But in baseball, you really can't win them all, and the streak ended.

As I was biking home along the lake, it was dark and quiet and beautiful, and that's when I remembered it was just a regular season baseball game. We'll be fine, Jays fans.

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All 39 Canadians to Reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100

Can't Feel My Face by The Weeknd is #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 this week. The Weeknd is Toronto's own Abel Tesfaye, making him the 39th Canadian to top this chart.

Here's the complete list of 39 Canadians to top the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

  1. It's Love-Love-Love by Guy Lombardo
  2. Cry by Johnnie Ray and The Four Lads
  3. Sh-Boom by The Crew-Cuts
  4. Diana by Paul Anka
  5. Lonely Boy by Paul Anka
  6. Theme from A Summer Place by Percy Faith
  7. Ringo by Lorne Greene
  8. American Woman / No Sugar Tonight by The Guess Who
  9. Heart of Gold by Neil Young
  10. Seasons in the Sun by Terry Jacks
  11. Sundown by Gordon Lightfoot
  12. (You're) Having My Baby by Paul Anka and Odia Coates
  13. Rock Me Gently by Andy Kim
  14. You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet by Bachman-Turner Overdrive
  15. Hot Child In The City by Nick Gilder
  16. You Needed Me by Anne Murray
  17. Heaven by Bryan Adams
  18. When I'm With You by Sheriff
  19. Black Velvet by Alannah Myles
  20. (Everything I Do) I Do It for You by Bryan Adams
  21. Informer by Snow
  22. All for Love by Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart and Sting
  23. The Power of Love by Céline Dion
  24. Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman? by Bryan Adams
  25. Because You Loved Me by Céline Dion
  26. My Heart Will Go On by Céline Dion
  27. One Week by Barenaked Ladies
  28. I'm Your Angel by R. Kelly and Céline Dion
  29. How You Remind Me by Nickelback
  30. Bad Day by Daniel Powter
  31. Promiscuous by Nelly Furtado featuring Timbaland
  32. Say It Right by Nelly Furtado
  33. Give It to Me by Timbaland featuring Nelly Furtado and Justin Timberlake
  34. Girlfriend by Avril Lavigne
  35. What's My Name? by Rihanna featuring Drake
  36. Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen
  37. Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell
  38. Rude by MAGIC!
  39. Can't Feel My Face by The Weeknd

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Open Mike

Welcome 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

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Boy, Did I Ever Hate that Jays Logo

I love seeing everyone donning their Blue Jays caps, jerseys and tees. The Jays logo is everywhere.

I'm so glad we changed our logo in 2011. Prior to the change, our primary logo was awful. I hated it so much, I refused to buy a single piece of memorabilia that featured it. During this seven year period, I only bought retro Jays gear with the original logo.

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Here's the logo that will forever be number one in my heart.

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And here's the current Jays logo, a great compromise that has me giddy again.

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The Hateful Eight

So few directors can actually get me into a theatre these days, but Quentin Tarantino is definitely one of them. Without a doubt, he's my favourite director, and he's yet to disappoint me.

His latest film, The Hateful Eight, arrives in December. The teaser trailer was released today.

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 132: Josie Dye

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 132In this 132nd episode, Mike chats with 102.1 the Edge host Josie Dye about her years on the air, her butchering of O Canada, her relationships with Martin Streek and Dean Blundell and why Diamond and Dye didn't work. Also, intense air is cleared. This episode is exactly 1:04:27.

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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11 Crazy Days

On my daughter's birthday, the Blue Jays were 8 games back of the New York Yankees in the American League East. We were just hoping for run at a wild card spot.

Fast forward to today and our Jays are only 1.5 games back of the Yanks. We've won eight in row and 11 of our past 12 outings, making up 6.5 games. Nobody is thinking wildcard.

So how much time are we talking here? How many days ago did my daughter turn 11? It was only 11 days ago!

11 crazy days... And this time, it doesn't feel like a mirage. With Tulowitzki and Price, this feels like the real deal.

jays

Bonus factoids from the sweep of the Yankees:

  • Justin Smoak's grand slam on Saturday was the first Jays grand slam in New York against the Yankees, ever
  • These back-to-back shutouts mark the first time the Yankees have been shutout back-to-back this century
  • The only run we allowed during this three-game series shouldn't have counted. What a bullshit call that was.

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Frank Gifford, Dead at 84

Frank GiffordFrank Gifford was 84. He played with the New York Giants his entire NFL career, from 1952 to 1964, and went to the Pro Bowl at three different positions.

If you're my age, you know him best as part of the broadcast booth of "Monday Night Football."

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Whole Lotta Jays Are Comin' Home

I've been sharing retro Blue Jays songs on this blog for over a decade. I loved those old cheesy Jays songs from the late 80s and early 90s.

Suddenly, traffic to these entries are spiking. I wonder why? For the first time since '93, Blue Jays fever is sky high. Winning 10 of 11 and moving to only 2.5 games back of the Yankees in the AL East will do that.

Since we're all Jays crazy, I'll start sharing more retro Jays songs, starting with this number from Homer Bunt. This is "Whole Lotta Jays Are Comin' Home".

Other Blue Jays audio from Toronto Mike:

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The Joke's On Me

Yesterday, I stumbled upon an observation I thought was accurate. It seems the Jokers in the various iterations of Batman tend to depict their era's drug of choice. I shared this image in the tweet below.

That was about 18 hours ago. Since then, my Twitter notifications have been bombarded with retweets and favourites. We're at about 1000 of each.

That's nice and all, but it's not my content and whoever created the original image misspelled 'heroin', so I've received dozens and dozens of smart ass replies like this one.

There are plenty more, trust me. Nobody thinks I know how to spell heroin, but I do.

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Open Mike

Welcome 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

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Winning Fixes Everything #LoveThisTeam

In the spring of 2013, following a few big moves by AA, the Blue Jays tried to push the hashtag #LoveThisTeam on us. That shit has to be earned, and that team wasn't particularly lovable.

Things improved last season, but we were still pretenders as opposed to contenders. By August, none of us believed in the Jays.

But this year, things are different. An already likeable team, bolstered by the acquisition of Josh Donaldson in the off-season, became a lovable team when AA shocked us all by trading for Troy Tulowitzki, David Price and more.

But what really makes this team lovable is the fact they're winning. We've won 7 of 8 and are a game up on the Orioles for the 2nd wild card spot. But really, our sights are set on the Yankees, only 4.5 games up in the AL East. And we've got a whack of games against the Yanks, starting tomorrow. Every single one of us believes we can do it, and for the first time since '93, there will be pennant fever in Toronto.

Winning fixes everything.

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Brother, Can You Spare a Wii?

The Nintendo Wii arrived for Christmas way back in 2007 and was an instant hit. If 2007 sounds like a long time ago, it's because it is. It's been eight years of Wii play in my home.

Wonderful Christmas

The last few years, however, the Wii has primarily been used as a weight loss tool for Dad and the family Mario Kart machine. That's the one game we all still love to play, and family tournaments are epic.

Sadly, the Wii is dead. It no longer reads discs, so Mario Kart is kaput.

Does anyone have a dusty old Wii lying around they no longer want? Brother, can you spare a Wii?

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Try These Simple, No-Nonsense Tips To Make Your Trade Show Booth A Success

In the world of trade show marketing, the term “dog-eat-dog” doesn’t quite sum it up; there are no easy victories and competition for investor attention is incredibly stiff. Trade shows are a magnet for capital – the lifeblood your business craves to get it to the next level. But in a sea of digital signage, flashy booths, and promotional items, how good is your company at standing out from the crowd? By thinking strategically and following a few of the tips listed below, you can increase your odds of making a profitable impression on investors.

Reap the windfall of booking early

When it comes to your business, there’s likely very little you would leave to chance – so why let the fates decide where your booth ends up? By registering early, many event organizers allow you to select your booth location.

A great location is an indication to investors that your business is successful – and that’s an impression that you can certainly leverage. The opposite unfortunately, is equally true – being stuck in the back corner of a vast auditorium won’t do anything to boost your company’s stock in the eyes of an investor.  

Want to be the first vendor potential clients see? Book early and that valuable real estate can be yours.

Give the people what they want: Snacks

If you’ve got the budget, provide a few snacks to potential clients. Things like bottled water are an excellent way to draw guests to your booth. Refreshments breed conversation – and conversations at trade shows lead to investors.

Bring the right team

Correctly identifying your staffing needs for your trade show display can have a big impact on your overall success. Be sure to include the members of your team that scream “I am a people person” (not literally of course, you don’t want to terrify anyone). The top characteristics your team should exhibit:

  • Approachability
  • Friendliness
  • Engaging
  • Knowledgeable

In addition to having the right team members being the face of your business, give special consideration to how many staff you will need on the floor. Having too few could mean missed opportunities; having too many may make potential investors feel too uncomfortable to approach your display.

"Booth Babes" Attract Investors: A Marketing Myth To Avoid

We’ve all heard the saying, “sex sells” – but does it? Consider some of the following before shelling out a portion of your marketing budget on these “promotional consultants”:

  • They’re paid to look nice, not sell your company.
  • You risk alienating female investors. “Booth babes” can send potential clients the wrong message about your organization before you’ve even had a chance to speak to them.
  • Can you spare the real estate? Take a moment to reflect on whether or not your business would benefit more from someone who can answer questions and build relationships or from a scantily clad co-ed.
  • This tactic is pretty transparent and may give the impression that your company can’t sell itself.

Besides all that, Spencer Chen split-tested this tactic a few years ago and the results were cut and dry. It simply doesn’t work.

Offer An Incentive For Stopping By - But Not To Everyone

If you’ve taken the time to contact potential clients before the show, consider enticing them to stop by your booth with a can’t miss incentive. This could be anything from a special discount for attending the show or a chance to win a prize. Be selective however – even if you’re not handing out “swaggables” to everyone passing your table (ineffective and costly) holding a contest that is open to unqualified leads could turn into a time and money sink if your entrant pool is diluted with uninterested attendees.

Dress for Success

To many, this one is a no-brainer, but it’s nonetheless something that gets overlooked quite a bit. Investors know that clothes don’t necessarily make the man or woman, but they do go a long way to creating a positive first impression.

Do Your Homework and Don’t Get Caught By Surprise

If you’ve never done a trade show before, consider attending a couple before taking part in one. Assuming that you’ve likely invested in some kind of custom exhibit design, you’d really be doing yourself and your business a disservice if you appear to be a fish out of water during the exhibition.

Attending a show will give you the opportunity to examine and make note of what some of the more successful companies are doing; and while you might not have the budget to duplicate their success, you can certainly talk to them about what worked well in the past and perhaps more importantly, what didn’t.

Technology May Be Your Friend, But Make It Your Business Partner

If your business engages your target market via social media on a regular basis, incorporate your attendance into your marketing strategy. Start by creating hype and excitement leading up to the event and invite your followers to attend. Schedule posts ahead of time so attendees receive your posts while at the show – an excellent reminder to stop by for a chat.

Do As I Do, Not As I Say

Wherever possible, have your product on display for use in live demos. The simple truth is that all the fancy talk in the world is no substitute for something that can be held in one’s hand. Investors want to see and touch your products, and there’s no better way to deliver a FaB sandwich (Features and Benefits) than showing them how your product works. After all, seeing is believing is it not?

Remember, trade shows can be a boon to your business; by taking the time to develop a strategy beforehand and doing a little prep work, your trade show experience can go from good, to great, to exceptional.

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CFNY FM: ain't your average radio clone

Karim Mosna sent me a link to this little documentary about CFNY thinking I might be interested. It's 22-minutes long and includes chats with Alan Cross, David Marsden, Ivar Hamilton and Dani Elwell.

If you're looking for a more long-form deeper dive into this subject, I strongly recommend the following episodes of Toronto Mike'd:

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Christopher Hyndman, co-host of CBC's Steven and Chris, Dead at 49

Christopher HyndmanChristopher Hyndman was 49. He was co-host of the afternoon talk show Steven and Chris on CBC-TV. Prior to their CBC show, the real-life couple starred in Chic with Steven and Chris, Design Rivals and Designer Guys.

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Daily Photo: Alan Frew Sings His Song

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Daily Photo: Kim Mitchell's Wild Party in New Toronto

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Cycling: July 2015 vs. July 2014

I set a personal best for KM cycled in a single month in June, but I trounced that number in July. July was an amazing month for cycling this city, and I made the most of it. Here's how my cycling in July 2015 measured up against July 2014.

July 2015: 893.34 km

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July 2014: 405.07 km

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My goal for 2015 remains a personal best 5,000 km. I'm currently at 3903.94 km with 5 months to go.

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