November 2015 Archives

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How Kobe Got Squeezed by Mike and LeBron

Guys my age grew up in the Jordan era. We really, really liked Mike. To most of us, Michael Jordan is the greatest NBA basketball player of all-time.

Kobe Bryant's NBA career began in 1996-97. That season, Michael Jordan led the Bulls to the NBA title. With Jordan's career fresh in our minds, nothing Kobe did would ever measure up.

Then, in 2003-04, LeBron James debuted for the Cavaliers. Now, at 30 years of age, after his fifth NBA finals appearance in a row, real debates can be had. Is LeBron as good, or better, than Jordan? Maybe!

Kobe has been squeezed. He's the lynch pin between Jordan and LeBron, and as stellar as he was, he wasn't as good as either.

Kobe has announced this season will be his last, and he did it with a poem. It ends like this:

My heart can take the pounding
My mind can handle the grind
But my body knows it's time to say goodbye.

And that's OK.
I'm ready to let you go.
I want you to know now
So we both can savor every moment we have left together.
The good and the bad.
We have given each other
All that we have.

And we both know, no matter what I do next
I'll always be that kid
With the rolled up socks
Garbage can in the corner
:05 seconds on the clock
Ball in my hands.
5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1

Love you always,
Kobe

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 146: Adam Growe

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 146In this 146th episode, Mike chats with Cash Cab host Adam Growe about his start in radio, his appearance on Star Search, everything you wanted to know about Cash Cab but were afraid to ask, The Adam Grow Quiz Show and more. Adam also quizzes Mike and you won't believe what happens next. This episode is exactly 1:12:46.

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

Adam Growe and Me

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast

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Blue Jays Sign J.A. Happ (Can We Stop Talking About Price Now?)

The Blue Jays have signed free-agent starter J.A. Happ to a three-year, $36 million contract. As smarter people than I will tell you, that ends the dream we'd re-sign David Price.

Did you really think Price was coming back. I sure didn't.

Price embodied the frenetic — and successful — approach of former Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos during the 2015 season. Price was acquired in July to help bring postseason baseball to Toronto for the first time in 22 years. And he did.

But now Anthopoulos is gone, his trade deadline all-nighters replaced by Mark Shapiro’s methodical business plan. That strategy does not include signing Price for $200 million.

With Happ returning to the Jays as our #4 or #5 starter, that gives us an opening day rotation of Stroman, Dickey, Estrada, Happ and Chavez. Meh.

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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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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 145: Mike Toth

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 145In this 145th episode, Mike chats with former TSN, Sportsnet, Fan 590 and Newstalk 1010 host Mike Toth about his career in sports media, his battle with depression, how the business has changed and what he's learned along the way. This episode is exactly 1:13:54.

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

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast

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Daily Photo: Coronation Park

Coronation Park

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 144: Elvis and Ian

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 144In this 144th episode, Mike and Elvis are joined by the guy who hosts the Toronto Mike'd podcast and many important issues of the day are discussed. There's talk of calendar invitation etiquette, the incoming methadone clinic in the neighbourhood, Elvis's appearance on Cash Cab, a review of recent guests and much, much more. This episode is exactly 1:02:21.

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

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast

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Do You Remember Club 102 on CHCH TV in Hamilton?

I've been conversing with a documentary filmmaker producing a film about Martin Streek. He's been listening to my podcast as a source of research, which fills me with great pride.

We had a chat yesterday about Chris Sheppard and his thoughts on Martin Streek. Shep would often say "often imitated, never duplicated" and there's a hypothesis that this was a reaction to Martin Streek taking over Club 102 from him after he left CFNY. One day I'd love to have Chris Sheppard on my podcast to hear his take on that, but in the meantime it's interested food for thought.

We also talked about Club 102 being broadcast on CHCH TV. There's little about this short-lived show online except for a couple of YouTube clips and this comment left on this very site.

Do you remember Club 102 on CHCH TV in Hamilton? What can you tell me about this show?

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 143: Ed Keenan

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 143In this 143rd episode, Mike chats with Toronto Star columnist Edward Keenan about his years writing for Eye Weekly, The Grid and The Toronto Star, but we also make time to talk Rob Ford, the Stockyards, his Newstalk 1010 radio show, @Norm on Twitter and more. This episode is exactly 1:11:31.

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

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast

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The Leaf: Blueprint

Right after the Leafs game ended last night, TSN aired episode one of The Leaf: Blueprint. It's a documentary series about this Leafs team, although drenched in extreme bias. It's an MLSE production, so it's as much a PR mechanism as anything.

It opens with Brendan Shanahan talking about growing up a Leafs fan. Shanahan grew up in Mimico (as if you didn't know that) and went to my high school, so I've been a fan forever. His little story about seeing Bill Derlago drive by while in the car being driven to Sherway Gardens is as relatable as any hockey story I've ever heard.

So yes, it's a propaganda machine, but it looks good and sells hard all we have: hope.

Here's episode one if you missed it.

I'm just sorry MLSE didn't name this series The Shanaplan.

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How to Bike Toronto Winters

Toronto's winters are very bikable, so there's no need to put your bicycle away until spring. I biked through the past two winters and now have it down to a fine art. Sure, you'll need to skip a few days when it's actively storming or when the temperatures plummet below -20°C, but you can get in a good ride most days with only three adjustments.

1. Layer Up
Staying warm is essential if you're going to bike through Toronto's winters. I've learned to add layers as the temperatures drop.

On a -10°C day in January, for example, I'll be wearing:

  • two pairs of socks
  • long thermal underwear
  • water-and-wind-resistant pants
  • tee-shirt
  • two long-sleeved athletic shirts
  • runner's hoodie
  • water-and-wind-resistant running jacket
  • balaclava
  • biking gloves
  • winter gloves

Trust me when I tell you you'll feel warm in all of the above down to -20° at which point your toes will turn on you.

2. Chose Maintained Routes
Once the snow falls and stays, I have to alter my regular routes. Much of the waterfront trail to the west of me is not maintained in the winter time, and it becomes an unofficial skating rink. That's no good.

Through trial, error, and common sense, I've mapped out several routes that are ploughed and salted throughout the winter. The Martin Goodman Trail, for example, is maintained all winter long, and you'll often find me biking it on a cold February afternoon.

Be prepared to lose your regular routes and map yourself rides with cleared snow and ice.

3. Slow Down
Even if your trail / road is ploughed and salted, the greatest danger in winter cycling is losing control on snow and ice. In my adult life I've never fallen off my bike in dry conditions, but I've had several falls in snow and rain. It's essential you reduce your speed during winter rides when snow and/or ice is present. This is especially true when turning.

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Get out there and enjoy biking Toronto in winter, just be prepared to bundle up, lose many of your favourite trails, and slow way down. Things will return to normal some time in April.

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The Blue Pill or Red Pill?

You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.

~ Morpheus in The Matrix

pills

My friend, had he lived, would have turned 35 today. I was reminded of this fact when Facebook encouraged me to "Help him have a great day!". Throughout today, many of his friends are leaving messages on his Facebook wall, confident that he's enjoying the day in heaven and looking down upon us, watching his Raptors and protecting his little girl.

I'm sometimes envious of this view of the world. It must be wonderful to believe that he's in a better place. It must be comforting to know he's still reading his Facebook wall and aware of our lives here on earth. Its sounds blissful.

I don't believe any of that. When my friend died in April 2014, I believe he ceased to exist, lost all awareness of anything and everything, dissipating back into the cosmos. I'm left with memories of our friendship and inspiration to be a better person.

Death is as natural a part of life as birth, but with a biting finality that results in a longingness that cannot be satisfied. It's no wonder so many choose the blue pill. I often wish I had made that choice.

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CN Tower Documentary

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Jim Perry, Dead at 82

Jim PerryJim Perry was 82. He was the host of game shows such as Card Sharks, $ale of the Century and Definition, filmed at CFTO-TV's studios.

The clip above features Dave Devall as the announcer, Dan Matheson and Pat Marsden. Dan Matheson was fired by Bell Media earlier this week.

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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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Josh Donaldson Wins American League MVP Award

For the second time in franchise history, a Toronto Blue Jay has been named American League MVP. Josh Donaldson joins George Bell in this exclusive club, having received 23 of a possible 30 first-place votes to edge Mike Trout.

Donaldson arrived from Oakland in a trade that had Brett Lawrie, Kendall Graveman, Franklin Barreto and Sean Nolin going the other way. He hit 41 home runs, while leading the league in runs scored, runs batted in and extra-base hits. He also was among the best defensive third basemen in the game and set a franchise record with three walk-off homers.

josh

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Who Owns What in Toronto Radio

The recent bad news from Bell Media likely had you wondering which stations they own in Toronto. You're forgiven if you're not up to speed with who owns what in Toronto.

Here's a handy chart I just put together which I believe includes the vast majority of companies that own multiple stations in Toronto. And yes, I realize the CBC belongs to all of us.

radio

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November 2015 Bell Media Cuts

We're learning now who has been cut as part of Bell Media's restructuring. The vast majority of those let go were behind the scenes, but I'm going to focus on those in front of the microphone and/or camera, known to those tuning in from Toronto.

I'll update this entry as I learn more.

NewsTalk 1010

  • Mike Toth
  • Dave Woodard

CTV Toronto

  • Bill Hutchison
  • Suneel Joshi

CTV News Channel

  • Dan Matheson
  • Amanda Blitz
  • Tom Kennedy

TSN

  • Sheri Forde

TSN Radio 1050

  • David Bastl

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 142: Norm Wilner

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 142In this 142nd episode, Mike chats with senior film writer for Now Magazine Norm Wilner about his years at The Toronto Star, his brother Mike, TIFF, Rob Ford, Roger Ebert, Mad Max, Bell Media cuts, and his podcast, Someone Else's Movie. This episode is exactly 1:45:26.

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

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast

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Ann Rohmer Retires from CP24 (Again!)

About five-and-a-half years ago, Ann Rohmer left her job at CP24 for a position in the aviation industry. Then, mere months later, Ann returned as if she had never left in the first place.

I spoke to Steve Anthony about this in episode 123 of my podcast as he tried to make sense of it all. Give it a spin if you have an hour to spare.

It seems Ann Rohmer has done it again, retiring from her role on CP24.

anne-rohmer

As you've likely heard, Bell Canada is eliminating a number of positions in both Toronto and Montreal this month. If this tweet is to be believed, Ann stepped down to save another. Hat tip to @1236.

Happy retirement, Ann! See you back on CP24 in a few months...

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2nd Class Pro-Sports Teams in Toronto

I'm an unabashed Toronto sports fan. I've been root, root, rooting for the home teams for as long as I can remember.

This past month has reminded me of the three-tiers of pro-sports in Toronto. There's group A, consisting of the Leafs, Blue Jays and Raptors, and group B, composed of TFC and the Argos. There's also a group C, which includes the Marlies and Rock.

When a team in group A makes the playoffs, it's a big deal. Most of the city gets incredibly excited and rallies behind our boys. I personally won't miss a minute of Leafs, Blue Jays or Raptors playoff action if I can help it.

When a team in group B makes the playoffs, you're happy, but there sure isn't a buzz in the city. TFC recently played their first playoff game ever, and if you weren't paying attention you likely missed it. I actually tuned into 3 minutes of this game before realizing we were getting trounced and I didn't really care. The Argos played a semi-final game yesterday, and if it wasn't for a few tweets I saw, I still wouldn't know what happened.

And don't get me started on group C. I'm mildly curious about the Marlies because I'm interested in how Leafs prospects like William Nylander are performing, but I couldn't tell you how many titles the Rock have won or when they last won without Googling it.

3-tiers

So yes, TFC and the Argos recently lost playoff games, but this city barely noticed and hardly cared. But when one of the big three make it, you won't be able to ignore it.

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A Scene in Paris

A few years ago, I was lucky enough to spend some time in Paris. It truly is a magical place.

We stumbled upon a scene that reminded me of Paris in the movies. I shot a little video of the moment so I could remember it forever.

Paris

I ended up marrying the brunette who walks by at the 14 second mark.

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The Silly Season Begins in Earnest

CHFI's Facebook page has declared that they're now playing nothing but Christmas music. Here's the official announcement.

"98.1 CHFI is now Toronto's Christmas Music Station! We're playing 100% All Christmas Music all the way to Boxing Day!

chfi

It's November 15, so that means they're playing nothing but Christmas music for the next six weeks. Here's a glance at what they've just played.

chfi2

Is it too early? Absolutely! Personally, I think December 15 would be a fine time for a stunt like this, but not a minute earlier.

Is this a dumb move by CHFI? Absolutely not! For some reason, this stunt works, or they wouldn't pull it year after year. I'm sure other stations will follow suit.

The silly season is in full-effect. Only six weeks to go...

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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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It's Not a Popularity Contest, But Here's the Current iTunes Ranking

For fun, I thought I'd pop into iTunes and see what's popular there right now. Here are episodes of Toronto Mike'd ranked in order of current popularity.

But first, two important details to note.

  1. Recent episodes are favoured, obviously. iTunes doesn't publish the algorithm that drives this chart, but it's most definitely time sensitive. This is not an all-time ranking.
  2. iTunes only knows what's played via iTunes. So anyone who streams an episode from this site, downloads the MP3 directly or plays Toronto Mike'd in any other podcast aggregator isn't counted here.

ranking

Not surprisingly, the most current episode is #1, but look at #4. That's the Strombo episode from last December. It's still incredibly popular.

I tweeted this screen cap and Strombo responded. It seems he's up for a sequel. I'm game.

After 141 episodes, my little podcast continues to hold it's own, currently ranked #14 in its category. Not bad for a guy in his basement.

itunes

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 141: Nelson Millman

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 141In this 141st episode, Mike chats with former Fan 590 program director Nelson Millman about his years at the station, the on-air talent, the lack of females on the sports radio roster, competition from TSN Radio and what he thinks of recent changes at 590. This episode is exactly 1:15:57.

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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Remember

poppyOn the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, Canadians pause and remember the thousands of men and women who sacrificed their lives fighting for freedom and democracy during the First World War, the Second World War, the Korean War, the Afghanistan conflict and during peacekeeping missions.

I've scoured my site for relevant entries. Here are some you may want to revisit today.

Here are some entries about Alfred Finley, a veteran and familiar face in Bloor West Village for many years.

And to those who served, or are serving this great country right now, I have one word: Thanks.

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Jarvis and Park Benches

My youngest is unable to pass a park bench without wanting to sit on it and chill. It sure slows down walks through High Park.

When he first started doing it, I thought it was cute and would take a picture, but now it happens so often it's lost its charm.

20151107_111316

20151101_160419

20151107_112149

As if!

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Daily Photo: High Park

20151107_105214

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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: Lambton Woods

2015-11-05_01-41-48

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 140: Jeff Lumby

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 140In this 140th episode, Mike chats with actor Jeff Lumby about his role on The Red Green Show, his voice-over work, and his many radio gigs, including mornings at The Fan 590. This episode is exactly 1:02:35.

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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Podcast Playlist

Lately, when I go out cycling, I've been listening to CBC podcasts on their CBC Radio app. One podcast I've been digging lately is all about... well... podcasts.

It's called Podcast Playlist and promises "Fresh, new, provocative programs from the digital realm".

Each episode contains several interesting segments from other podcasts. It's a great way to discover new podcasts, or just hear a collection of great stories. Even when the subject matter isn't my cup of tea, I find it interesting.

With the app, I just click the episode I want to hear and start peddaling. Episodes are just under an hour, which is ideal for me.

2015-11-02_04-32-52

PS. Happy Birthday, CBC!

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Cycling: October 2015 vs. October 2014

Having surpassed my 2015 goal in mid-September, I'm now fulfilling a contractual obligation by comparing my year-over-year distances through December.

Although there were a few chilly, wet days in October, overall it was a great cycling month, with the sun shining and mostly double-digit temps.

Here's how my October 2015 stacked up against October 2014.

October 2015: 762.53 KM

october-2015

October 2014: 513.21 KM

october-2014

I'm now at 6200.32 KM for 2015.

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