December 2016 Archives

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8857.43 KM Cycled in 2016

For the third calendar year in a row, I set a personal best for kilometres cycled. I finished 2016 with 8857.43 KM cycled.

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Here's how I got to 8857.43. Due to travel, I lost a week in February, a couple of weeks in August, and another week in December.

2016

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Toronto Sports Teams Had a Great 2016

I've been blogging here for 14 years, and during that time there were some pretty low times in Toronto sports. Just four years ago I wrote this about the new bottom for Toronto sports teams. Things were very, very bad for the big five.

In 2016, things got a whole lot better. In fact, there's something great to report about every team in the big five not nicknamed the Argos. Although we didn't win a championship, we were close!

Toronto FC
Ten years after their birth, TFC hosted the MLS Cup final, losing a heartbreaker to Seattle. That second leg against Montreal in the semi-final was absolutely thrilling.

Toronto Blue Jays
For the second year in a row, the Blue Jays played in the ALCS. Unlike the hype train of 2015, this didn't seem likely in September as we sputtered into the playoffs, but an Edwin walk-off against Baltimore in the wildcard game and a sweep of the Rangers in the ALDS helped recapture the joy of the previous year.

Toronto Raptors
For the first time in franchise history, the Raptors won a best-of-seven playoff series. And we did it twice! We even took two games against Cleveland in the conference finals, making this far and away the best Raptors season, ever.

Toronto Maple Leafs
Last season, the Leafs were bad. Very, very bad. This is a good thing, as it helped us land Auston Matthews with the first overall pick in the draft. Now, with Matthews, Marner and Nylander, the future actually looks bright and the present is a lot of fun, too.

Toronto Argonauts
Let's not ruin this entry with an Argos update.

In addition to successful developments for the big four teams in this city, Toronto hosted the Grey Cup, World Cup of Hockey and World Juniors. 2016 was a very good year for Toronto sports. Let's hope for a championship in 2017.

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Honest Ed's

The beginning of the end for Honest Ed's was July 2013. Now, the end is nigh.

When Ed Mirvish passed away in 2007, I first shared my memories of the Toronto institution at Bathurst and Bloor.

My grandmother loved Ed Mirvish and his discount store. She dragged me there many times and always glowed when scouring the place for bargains. I loved the signage and posters throughout the big barn. That place was magic.

The very first time I rode the subway by myself was to attend a school near Bathurst and Bloor one day a week in grade five. I'd get off at Bathurst station and walk from there. The lights of the Honest Ed's sign alway put a smile on my face. I just loved knowing it was there.

Snowing. Walking by Honest Eds

The store is slated to permanently close tomorrow. It's the end of an era, Toronto.

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DeMar DeRozan Sets Raptors Record for All-Time Points

Last night, the Raptors were in Oakland losing to the mighty Warriors. I went to bed after a disastrous first quarter but see we came back to make it a game. At some point, DeMar DeRozan surpassed Chris Bosh as the franchise leading scorer. He now has 10290 points.

Here's the current all-time Raptors top ten.

  1. DeMar DeRozan - 10290
  2. Chris Bosh - 10275
  3. Vince Carter - 9420
  4. Andrea Bargnani - 6581
  5. Morris Peterson - 6498
  6. Kyle Lowry - 5771
  7. Jose Calderon - 5235
  8. Doug Christie - 4448
  9. Antonio Davis - 3994
  10. Amir Johnson - 3957

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Debbie Reynolds, Dead at 84

Debbie ReynoldsDebbie Reynolds was 84. She was the actress and singer who starred in memorable films including 1952's Singin' in the Rain, 1962's How the West Was Won and 1956's Bundle of Joy. I loved her in Albert Brooks' Mother.

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 210: 12:36 Media Recap

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 210In this 210th episode, Mike chats with Marc Weisblott of 12:36 about the current state of the media in Canada. This episode is exactly 1:58:36.

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

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Carrie Fisher, Dead at 60

Carrie FisherCarrie Fisher was 60. She was the actress best known as Star Wars‘ Princess Leia Organa. She also appeared in films like The Blues Brothers, When Harry Met Sally, The 'Burbs and Woody Allen's Hannah and Her Sisters.

leia

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George Michael, Dead at 53

George MichaelGeorge Michael was 53. He was the pop singer who launched his career with Wham! in the 1980s and continued his success as a solo performer.

On a personal note, this one strikes me square in the nostalgia bone. I owned Wham!'s Make It Big on cassette and loved it. I've written not once but twice about the role Careless Whisper played in my primary school life.

Just two days ago, while recording the 209th episode of Toronto Mike'd, I reminiced about Wham! and George Michael's Faith album after playing Last Christmas.

george

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 209: Happy Festivus

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 209In this 209th episode, Mike celebrates Festivus with Elvis and they discuss a cornucopia of fun topics. This episode is exactly 1:35:03.

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

Elvis and me

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Festivus 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 208: Denise Donlon

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 208In this 208th episode, Mike chats with Denise Donlon about her years at MuchMusic, Sony and the CBC. This episode is exactly 1:20:42.

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

donlon

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Most Revealing Episodes of Toronto Mike'd in 2016

I recently shared my favourite episodes of Toronto Mike'd in 2016, but here are the episodes I deem to be the most revealing. There were stories shared in these four episodes that were completely unknown to me, and often unexpected.

Anne Mroczkowski

Anne decided she was tired of the smoke and mirrors and wanted to tell it like it was. She was incredibly candid and taught me a great deal. This was one of the most refreshing conversations I enjoyed in 2016.

Anne Mroczkowski and Me

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John "Spike" Gallagher

Spike has stories. Man, does he have stories. What he lacks, is a filter, and we're all the beneficiaries. He's returning when he's finished his book.

John

Listen Here

Dave Hodge

Two words: pen flip.

Dave Hodge and me

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Mike Richards

Mike told me he was a good-time Charlie, and he most definitely aimed to please. I was blown away by how honest he was and what he was willing to share with Toronto Mike'd listeners. It was truly appreciated.

Mike Richards and me

Listen Here

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 207: Bob Elliott

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 207In this 207th episode, Mike chats with legendary baseball writer Bob Elliott about his years covering the Expos and Blue Jays, why he was banned from Bob McCown's Prime Time Sports, and the future of baseball in Canada. This episode is exactly 2:03:56.

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

Bob Elliott and Me

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Zsa Zsa Gabor, Dead at 99

Zsa Zsa GaborZsa Zsa Gabor was 99. She was the actress and socialite I knew best from her appearances on Hollywood Squares.

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Scruff Connors, Dead at 64

Scruff ConnorsJeff "Scruff Connors" Newfield was 64. He was the radio broadcaster best known in these parts for his two stints at Q107, and most recently, MOJO Radio.

scruff connors

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Josie Dye Leaves 102.1 the Edge

Josie Dye started at 102.1 the Edge way back in 2002. She took over middays when Kelly Cutrara left and stayed in that spot until she moved to mornings following the cancellation of the Dean Blundell Show. That experiment didn't last long, and Josie Dye was moved to 2pm-6pm.

Following her maternity leave, she hosted Sugar Beach at 6pm. Today, she announced she's leaving 102.1 the Edge.

josie

Just prior to her aforementioned maternity leave, Josie visited my home and sat down for a great conversation about her career. You can hear her on episode 132 here.

It's been a long time since 102.1 didn't include the voice of Josie Dye. It'll be interesting to see where she pops up next. I'm told we'll be hearing her voice again in March, so stay tuned...

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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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Favourite Episodes of Toronto Mike'd in 2016

I haven't recorded a new episode of Toronto Mike'd in two weeks and I miss it. I'll make up for that brief pause with at least five new episodes before the end of the year, including visits by Bob Elliott, Denise Donlon, James Mirtle and Sean Fitz-Gerald.

This break has given me a chance to look back on the episodes recorded in 2016. I averaged more than one episode a week, and there were dozens of fantastic conversations, but here are my five favourite episodes of Toronto Mike'd in 2016.

Maestro Fresh-Wes

I had worked on getting Maestro to visit for years before his visit in September. I was a big fan and it was a delight having such one-on-one time with Wes. In a sense, the 200+ episodes could have been a ruse to make this 90 minutes possible.

Maestro Fresh Wes and me

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Ron Hawkins

Much like Maestro, I was a huge fan of Lowest of the Low. To this day, Shakespeare My Butt gets played in my house and every episode of my podcast closes with Rosy and Grey from that same album. Ron was everything I'd hoped he would be.

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Ron MacLean

Speaking of Rons who did not disappoint, Ron MacLean was incredible. He's been the face of Hockey Night in Canada for as long as I can remember and having him visit my basement to field my questions still blows my mind.

Ron MacLean and Me

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Bob Elliott

Back when I had a commute to work, I'd listen to Prime Time Sports with Bob McCown and wish the two minutes with Bob Elliott were two hours. On a cold day in December, I got what I wanted. Bob visited me and shared baseball stories for two hours and it was everything I had hoped it would be.

Bob Elliott and Me

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Emm Gryner

This one, was personal. Emm is a tremendous musician and great conversationalist, but i needed this episode for purely selfish reasons. This one was for Mike Kic.

Emm Gryner and Me

Listen Here

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Alan Thicke, Dead at 69

Alan ThickeAlan Thicke was 69. He was the Canadian actor, songwriter, and game and talk show host best known for his role as Jason Seaver on Growing Pains.

I actually spent some time with Alan about five years ago. I wanted to talk about how he composed the themes to Diff'rent Strokes and The Facts of Life and he wanted to talk about his son Robin's music career.

thicke

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Radio Garden

When I was young, I'd slowly turn the dial on my transistor radio to see if I could pick up stations from outside the GTA. I'd get awfully excited when I'd find a station in Cleveland, for example. I distinctly remember doing this one Christmas Eve and being delighted by the cute Christmas skit I heard on an American station.

This website is absolutely blowing my mind. Radio Garden literally lets you cruse the planet, tuning in different stations as you travel. Earlier today I was listening to radio stations in The Philippines where they were playing Bryan Adams.

radio-garden

If you have any interest in radio at all, you're going to fall in love with Radio Garden. I know I have.

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Has the City Plowed Yet?

It snowed last night. I just shovelled my first snow of the season. Are you wondering when the City of Toronto is going to plow your street? Follow @TO_WinterOps for real-time updates.

I'm a fan of this new map that lets you know when roads have been salted and plowed in the City of Toronto. It's particularly convenient if you're planning a bike ride and wish to stick with streets and trails that have just been plowed.

plow

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Gleason

I'm a sucker for movies on a plane. Even mediocre flicks hook me when I'm mid-flight. Heck, I shed a tear during Kevin Costner's Draft Day.

Having already been underwhelmed by the new Ghostbusters and pleasantly surprised by the new Barbershop, I decided to try a documentary. There was one called Gleason which I just assumed was about Jackie Gleason. I decided to give it a go.

This movie was not about Jackie Gleason but former NFL player Steve Gleason who was diagnosed with ALS at the age of 34. I was completely drawn into Steve's world where I clinged to every syllable and openly wept like a baby several times.

gleason

I'm unsure if the documentary is just that good or if this is the aforementioned plane effect, but I spent the next hour completely reevaluating the priorities in my life, particularly my relationships with my four children. The faucet was open and feelings were gushing out.

Should you trust a man who admitted to shedding a tear while watching Draft Day on a flight? Of course you shouldn't. But if you're facing adversity, struggle with father issues, are a parent or simply interested in a different perspective, I highly recommend this documentary. And not just because it features Pearl Jam and a tearful Ed Vedder discussing his own father issues. That's just icing on a very thought-provoking cake.

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Changing Trends in the Canadian Casino Industry

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Canada’s gaming industry currently employs approximately 135,000 people. While most of these people are employed in land-based casinos, a growing number are involved in the online casino industry at some level. The gaming industry pays $2 billion in salaries every year and an estimated $10 billion of capital is invested in the industry. The Canadian gaming industry comprises charitable gaming, video lottery games, horse racing, slots games at racetracks, lottery gaming and of course casino gaming (land-based casino and online casino gaming). Up until 2009, online casino gaming was not permitted in Canada. However, this did not deter Canadian players from placing bets with foreign-based operators.

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Top foreign online casinos offering fully regulated services to Canadians include 888 Casino, one of the pioneers in online casino entertainment. By 2010, an online casino was opened in British Columbia and in early 2011 the province introduced online poker gaming. In the Canadian province of Québec, Loto-Québec utilises the same online poker network as British Columbia. Mobile gaming is on the cards for British Columbia with the British Columbia Lottery Corporation.

As far as Ontario is concerned, 2012 was earmarked for online poker and online casino gaming. Much the same is true for Nova Scotia and Québec. Fortunately for Canadian online casino players, there are zero limitations on online gaming activity thanks to the Kahnawake Gaming Commission (KGC) in the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory. Note that the KGC is only responsible for issuing licences to online gaming sites in that territory.

Canada and Gambling: Regulations

The Criminal Code in Canada was changed in 1970. This was a watershed moment with respect to Canadian gaming legislation. It transferred authority over gambling to the individual Canadian provinces. In 1989, the first Canadian casino was built in Winnipeg. Several others soon followed in Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Manitoba and Québec. Canadians also took to racetrack gambling over the years and this remains one of the most popular forms of gambling in the country. This was soon followed by video lottery terminals. In terms of unregulated gambling activity, the Canadian government does not perceive this to be a threat to the well-being of Canadian citizens. As such, it is largely ignored, and it is within the purview of citizens to determine whether or not they wish to play with these types of operators. As it stands, the most up-to-date provincial laws in Canada were put in place to control revenue streams. These also allow the government to have a hand in the online gambling industry.

In terms of overall regulation for the Canadian gambling industry, it is the Canadian Gaming Commission that has full oversight. The CGC resolves all issues relating to accountability, transparency and credibility. This pertains to sports betting, casinos, online casinos, online poker rooms and other activities. As per Canadian gaming law, individual provinces have full autonomy to determine how they wish to prosecute these types of matters. Canadian players are not subject to prosecution by the law if they wish to participate in online poker or online casino gambling. Canada has one of the most player-friendly online gaming communities in the world and it is widely regarded in that regard.

Polls Confirm That Canadians Enjoy Gambling

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Many top-tier online casino operators that were rejected by the US have found a robust market in Canada. Online poker is one of the fastest-growing gambling markets in Canada. The legal gambling age for casino and online casino (online poker, online bingo, et al) will vary from one province to the next. Some Canadian provinces allow players to gamble at age 18, while others require that players are at least 19 years of age. Provinces do not encourage the prohibition of online gambling. They recognize that this is a viable revenue stream for them, and they prefer to monitor it effectively. In terms of actual numbers, a 2000 study indicated that some 70% of Canadians were involved in one or other form of gambling every year. By 2002 a poll indicated that almost 19 million Canadians gambled at some level. The provinces with the highest gambling rates include Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia.

In terms of taxation, gambling winnings in Canada are typically tax-free. However, if a person plays professionally, winnings will be taxable. Fortunately, Canadian players are allowed to play at foreign-based online casinos as there are no laws in effect to forbid this type of activity. This includes video poker, blackjack, online casino slots, baccarat, craps and the like. Unlike the United States, the UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) does not apply in Canada.

This means that payments processors are allowed to transfer money to/from Canadian online casinos and player accounts. In fact, the vast majority of Canadian banks will readily process transfers of funds to online casinos. Any anomalies in transactions processing or payouts can be referred to the Canadian Gaming Association (CGA) as well as eCOGRA Safe and Fair. Fortunately, many of the foreign-based casinos operating in Canadian cyberspace are fully licensed by internationally accredited regulatory agencies such as the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) or the Government of Gibraltar.

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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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John Glenn, Dead at 95

John GlennJohn Glenn was 95. He was the first American astronaut to orbit the Earth and is the oldest person to go into space.

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Mini*Pops Christmas

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Audials Tunebite 2017

You know about the Audials Tunebite 2017 Premium release? Have a look at the Platinum addition as well – the Platinum edition combines the audio features of Audials Tunebite Premium and the video capabilities of Audials Moviebox in one program.

What can it do
With Audials Tunebite 2017 Premium, you can easily record music and save audio steams as individual songs. The Platinum edition additionally saves video, records and saves video streams. It converts audio and video, copies DVD’s, protected and unprotected, and comes with a media centre where you can enjoy movies, series, videos and music – all your entertainment, anywhere.

Why is it loved
Audials Tunebite 2017 Premium saves music from all major streaming services such as Spotify, Deezer, Napster, Tidal etc. It even records music and audio books at twice the speed from Spotify and Deezer. Moreover, it is compatible with so many different file formats and has quick conversion speeds. It has an impressive look and feel plus it has so many more capabilities and features than your average converter. It can convert audio files to several different audio formats as well as copy DVDs and to top it off it sorts all of your music into a convenient and sortable library.

The MP3 converter looks far more sophisticated than other audio converters, in a good way, it has a has a sleek and modern look. One of the major advantages to using Audials Tunebite Platinum is its video file compatibility.

Audials Tunebite’s audio converter is able to convert every video file thrown at it, including, M4V, MOV, MP4, MPG and WMV. Extracting the audio from video files is a feature that isn't included in iTunes, Audials makes life easy like this.

Audials Tunebite is compatible with roughly 40 audio files (not including video files) and can convert them in a timely fashion to 11 different audio formats – the audio compatibility as well as the conversion speed were both impressive. Audials is available on Windows 10, 8 and 7 platforms.

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What you need
A program that records crystal-clear sound because it records using your computers sound card as opposed to the mic. Converting and transcoding video from one format to another, while giving you all the features, tweaks, and options you need to make sure it plays smoothly on whatever device or screen you plan to send it to.

In conclusion
Audials Tunebite 2017 is an impressive audio and video converter. It is compatible with many different files and doing so in lightning speed. Impressive, easy-to-use software.

Download the free demo version on the Website of the company

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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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Watch it, Buddy!

Periodically, I'll break into my best Peter Silverman imitation and exclaim "Watch it, buddy!" At some point in the 90s I saw CityTV's Silverman do this during one of his Silverman Helps segments and it stuck.

Thanks to Retrontario, I now have the exact clip. You'll hear it at the 19 second mark of this old CityPulse promo.

Silverman, who was dismissed from CityTV back in 2008, is now 85 years young.

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