December 2017 Archives

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84 Podcast Guests in 2017!

Speaking of passionate hobbies I've had for over five years, Toronto Mike'd turned five years old in August. More episodes were recorded in 2017 than any calendar year previous. 86 episodes of Toronto Mike'd were recorded in 2017 (plus two bonus shorts for subscribers), comprising of 84 different guests.

So much for a weekly podcast, eh? Here are the 84 people who were kind enough to visit my basement in 2017. Actually, only 82 visited... Jesse and Gene were Skyped in from the left coast.

  1. James Mirtle
  2. Sean Fitz-Gerald
  3. Jesse Dylan
  4. Gene Valaitis
  5. Rod Smith
  6. Josh Holliday
  7. Bob Callahan
  8. Kevin Shea
  9. Maureen Holloway
  10. Craig Venn
  11. Mike Richards
  12. Greg Brady
  13. Kevin Frankish
  14. Clint "Bubba" O'Neil
  15. Barry Davis
  16. Marc Weisblott
  17. Carly Agro
  18. Faizal Khamisa
  19. Bob McKenzie
  20. Brian Williams
  21. Chris Murphy from Sloan
  22. Bill Hayes
  23. elvis
  24. Howard Berger
  25. Elliott Cowan
  26. Lou Schizas
  27. Stormin' Norman Rumack
  28. Ed "Retrontario" Conroy
  29. Liana K
  30. Ed the Sock
  31. Richard Syrett
  32. Joel Goldberg
  33. Hugh Burrill
  34. Mark Hebscher
  35. Mike Wilner
  36. Fred Penner
  37. Bob Mackowycz
  38. Siobhan Morris
  39. Ziggy Lorenc
  40. Michael Hainsworth
  41. Alan Cross
  42. Andrew Stoakley
  43. Jim Van Horne
  44. Alex Pierson
  45. Larry Fedoruk
  46. Norm Wilner
  47. Fred Patterson
  48. Ivar Hamilton
  49. Colin D'Mello
  50. Jay Onrait
  51. Sophia Jurksztowicz
  52. Laura Diakun
  53. Nick "Splash" Adams
  54. Taes "Boots" Leavitt
  55. Ron Hawkins from Lowest of the Low
  56. Lawrence Nichols from Lowest of the Low
  57. Mike Stafford
  58. Tim Thompson
  59. Jackie Perez
  60. Stephen Brunt
  61. Damien Cox
  62. DJ Ron Nelson
  63. Peter Bulut
  64. Kayla Grey
  65. Mike Hogan
  66. Jarvis
  67. Bob Willette
  68. Sarah Boesveld
  69. Brad Fay
  70. Blake Carter
  71. Paul Romanuk
  72. Stephen Stanley
  73. John Gallagher
  74. David Shoalts
  75. Alexandra Beaton
  76. Aaron Bronsteter
  77. Ed Keenan
  78. Steve Simmons
  79. Andy Maize from Skydiggers
  80. Gill Deacon
  81. Andy Frost
  82. Meredith Shaw
  83. Ron James
  84. iLLvibe

Thanks again to everyone who dropped by for a healthy dose of #realtalk. And thank you to everyone who listened to an episode or two or 297. This podcast is powered by you.

Happy new year!

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10,512.68 KMs Biked in 2017!

In 2012, I biked a grand total of 214 KM. They were my first kilometres in about 15 years.

I've managed to bike further every year since, and in 2017 I cleared 10,000 KM in a calendar year for the first time in my life. I love round number milestone targets like that.

Since I'm fairly confident I won't be biking today (it's -32 with the windchill as I type), I finished 2017 with precisely 10,512.68 KM cycled. I'm proud of that figure, but mostly I'm proud to have gone from 214 KM to over 10,000 KM in five years.

Here's the tale of the tape.

2017 Biking

bike-by-month

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 297: iLLvibe Kicks Out the Jams!

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 297In this 297th episode, Mike and iLLvibe discuss his creation of the Toronto Mike'd theme song, our mutual buddy Mike Kic, appearing on Canada's Smartest Person and his new music before they play and discuss his ten favourite songs. This episode is exactly 1:43:26.

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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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Let's Do the Star Wars Again!

Today, I took the teenagers to see the new Star Wars. At this point, I've lost track of the movie titles, but I'm pretty sure this was #8.

Everything I write here will be spoiler-free, so don't get your knickers in a knot. I'm just going to share some general thoughts on this specific flick and the Disney franchise as a whole.

Firstly, it's very long. There are ads, coming attractions, yet more ads and a very long movie. There's even a game they want you to play with an app (both my teens did this), except it's not a game at all. You literally just watch more ads. What's up with that? Weren't there actual trivia questions at some point?

Star Wars 8 is long enough that I thought I could make it through without a pee break, only to realize we weren't wrapping up as I was led to believe. There was a good 45-minutes post-pee. There's lots going on.

These new Star Wars movies feel like the same movie over and over again. The names and faces might change, but the general mythology is all copy and paste. It's a winning formula, and they sure stick to it. Because it's the same pleasing movie over and over again, it's pretty fun while you're in the theatre. Just don't expect to be talking about it two hours later. It's not the type of movie you take home with you.

I was going to map the current characters to the originals, like how BB-8 is R2-D2 and Rey is Luke, but that's a little too close to spoilerville, and I promised not to go there. Just know, there's nothing new under the sun, and that's not entirely a bad thing. After all, Disney is laughing all the way to the bank.

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 296: Ron James

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 296In this 296th episode, Mike chats with stand up comedian Ron James about moving to LA, returning home to hone his craft and finding his voice. This episode is exactly 2:04:56.

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Johnny Bower, Dead at 93

Johnny BowerJohnny Bower was 93. Nicknamed "The China Wall", the Hall of Famer won four Stanley Cups tending goal for the Toronto Maple Leafs. In retirement, no Leafs alumnus was more active than Johnny Bower.

Often at this time of year I'd share Johnny Bower's "Honky the Christmas Goose". Sung with Little John and the Rinky Dinks, it was released in 1965 and enjoyed a significant amount of airplay, making it to number 29 on our Canadian music charts.

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Irv Weinstein, Dead at 87

Irv WeinsteinIrv Weinstein was 87. He was the legendary WKBW-TV anchor who used alliterative expressions like “pistol packing punks” as the king of local television news in Buffalo for decades.

From this side of Lake Ontario, Irv was Buffalo. Here's something I wrote about Buffalo Eyewitness News about a decade ago.

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Raptors: First Place in the Eastern Conference

raptors

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 295: Celebrating Festivus with Elvis

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 295In this 295th episode, Mike celebrates Festivus with Elvis as they discuss a cornucopia of topics. This episode is exactly 2:16:22.

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Happy Festivus!

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Skydiggers at the Horseshoe Tavern

In a word: wonderful.

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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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Dick Enberg, Dead at 82

Dick EnbergDick Enberg was 82. He was one of the most versatile and enthusiastic sports announcer of his era, calling major league baseball, college and pro football, college basketball, boxing, tennis, golf, Olympics, Rose Bowls and Super Bowls and Breeders’ Cup horse racing.

dick

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June Rowlands, Dead at 93

June RowlandsJune Rowlands was 93. She was Toronto's first female mayor, elected in 1991. She served as the city’s 60th mayor until 1994.

june

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 294: 12:36

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 294In this 294th episode, Mike chats with Marc Weisblott of 12:36 about the current state of the media in Canada. This episode is exactly 2:05:47.

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12:36

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Rankin/Bass Productions When It Was Videocraft International

Tis the season for Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, the 1964 stop-motion animated Christmas special from Rankin/Bass Productions when it was known as Videocraft International.

When Elliot Cowan visited me last April, he gave me an old Rankin/Bass brochure from his father, Bernard Cowan. You may recall all characters were portrayed by Canadian actors recorded at RCA studios in Toronto under the supervision of Bernard Cowan.

Here are pics I've taken of this old Videocraft International brochure.

2017-12-18_04-15-29

Rankin/Bass Productions 2

2017-12-19_09-42-46

Rankin/Bass Productions 4

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Toronto Mike'd Listeners: Email Me Your Audio Feedback

This is a call to all listeners of Toronto Mike'd. I have a request to make of you...

Record a clip of yourself with your smartphone and email the audio file to me at mike@torontomike.com. In the subject line, just include the keyword "300".

Please introduce yourself with your name (first name or handle is fine) and location (Hi, I'm Bobby from Ajax) and a bit about what you like / dislike about Toronto Mike'd and perhaps your favourite episode ever and why. Got that?

To summarize:

  1. Record yourself with your smartphone
  2. Identify yourself (I'm Tabitha from Liberty Village)
  3. Tell me why you enjoy the show (or why you don't)
  4. Let me know your favourite episode and why
  5. Email me this audio clip - mike@torontomike.com
  6. Put "300" in the subject line

Be aware, I will use these clips in an upcoming episode. That's why I'm hoping you can record and email me these clips by midnight on December 27.

Thanks!

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 293: Retrontario Christmas Crackers, Vol. 1

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 293In this 293rd episode, Mike and Ed Conroy present Retrontario Christmas Crackers Vol. 1 featuring Mark Dailey, Elwy Yost, Heather Conkie, Peter Silverman, TODAY’S SPECIAL, Uncle Bobby, Lynn Griffin, Harry Forbes, Harvey Atkin, The Racoons, Billy Van, Olivia Hussey, Tommy Ambrose, Ivor Raymonde, Scrooge, The Beach Boys and a MOOG! This episode is exactly 1:43:48.

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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 292: Meredith Shaw

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 292In this 292nd episode, Mike chats with Meredith Shaw about her career in music, on radio on CHUM FM and modelling. Then, Christmas songs are played with passion! This episode is exactly 1:42:49.

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MLSE Buys the Argonauts - Are the Blue Jays Next?

In a surprise announcement, MLSE is the proud new owner of the Toronto Argonauts. It was previously owned by the Kilmer Group (Larry Tanenbaum) and Bell Canada, but now it's owned by the Kilmer Group, Bell Canada, and Rogers. The Argos join the Maple Leafs, Raptors, TFC and Marlies as MLSE properties.

My initial thoughts are that this is very good for the Argos. Let's face it, the Argos and CFL were all but ignored by Rogers properties like Sportsnet and The Fan 590, and now they'll get more exposure on those key sports channels. It will also help the Argos to have the weight of MLSE's sports marketing expertise behind them. I envision Argos tickets bundled with Maple Leafs playoff tickets and the like. The Argos need to draw better at BMO Field and this will help.

My next thoughts are of the Blue Jays. David Shoalts one explained the accounting advantages if Rogers owned 37.5% of the Blue Jays as opposed to the current 100%. If MLSE were to purchase the Blue Jays from Rogers, they'd have a monopoly on all major Toronto sports franchises. I don't know if this is a good thing or not.

The sale is expected to close in January 2018.

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What I Wear When I Bike on Snowy Cold Days

A couple of winters ago, I wrote this entry about how I bike Toronto winters. In a nutshell, I layer up, slow the heck down, and alter my routes.

These rules have served me well the last several winters as I've rarely seen a day that wasn't enjoyably bikeable. I only got out for 10 or so KMs yesterday, but it was a fun 10 KM. Today, before I took a crispy 20 KM ride, I shot some video to show what I wear to keep warm.

Consider this my pivot to video.

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 291: Andy Frost

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 291In this 291st episode, Mike chats with Andy Frost about his years at Q107, Psychedelic Psunday, being the PA announcer at Leafs games and his son Morgan being drafted in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft. This episode is exactly 1:34:52.

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Barenaked Ladies at Massey Hall

That was quite the night. After watching TFC's thrilling win, I biked to BMO Field to soak in the thrills of victory. Then, to Massey Hall to see the Barenaked Ladies.

With BNL, two things are guaranteed: you'll get great songs and truly funny banter. That banter, which is always crisp and smart, sometimes comes in rap form. It all makes for a dependably fun night.

Put them in Massey Hall and you get the added bonus of the best venue in the city. The acoustics are incredible. Catch a show or two before it shuts down for three years!

20171209_223705_HDR

This is the first time I've seen them since Steven Page left the band, and it's not quite the same. They still sound great, but here they are performing Brian Wilson. You can't hear Brian Wilson without missing Steven's contributions to the band.

I often joke about my mild 90s Cancon obsession. BNL are right there with The Tragically Hip, Lowest of the Low, Rusty and Skydiggers, only BNL experienced significant success in the USA. Still, they're Toronto boys, and they let you know it. The hometown crowd returned the love all night.

Most of us are old enough to remember when $1,000,000 was a lot of money.

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TFC: 2017 MLS Cup Champions

jozy-altidore

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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 290: Gill Deacon

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 290In this 290th episode, Mike chats with Gill Deacon about being in a band, Gord Downie, her broadcasting career, her battle with cancer, her current hosting duties on Here and Now on CBC Radio and her favourite holiday music. This episode is exactly 1:33:51.

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A Clean Android Slate: My Essential Apps

I just got a new LG G5 Android phone, a clean slate. Well, it's not exactly clean, because it comes with a bunch of LG apps I have absolutely no use for, but once I cleaned up that mess, I could customize everything to my liking.

This is my current home page. The apps I access here are those I consider The A-Team.

Screenshot_2017-12-06-09-21-07

Here's a breakdown of my A-Team apps and why they're essential. We'll skip the six obvious defaults (phone, messages, camera, clock, Play Store, and settings) because, well... they're obvious.

Gmail
They say young people don't use email anymore. I must be old, because email is still the heartbeat of my digital communication. I use Gmail for email and I use it throughout the day, everyday.

Chrome
Chrome is my go-to web browser, and if you're browsing the web on your smartphone, you're going to need a web browser.

Google Calendar
Every time-sensitive thing I have to do goes in my Google Calendar. And once it's in there, it happens. Be it a dentist appointment, my son's hockey game, or Skydiggers at the Horseshoe Tavern.

MapMyRide
Every bike ride I've taken the last five years has been recorded with this app. It's why I'm able to tell you with certainty I've biked 10,041.22 KM in 2017.

Hangouts
My go-to online instant messenger is Google Hangouts. Enough said.

Twitter
I like Twitter, ok? That explains all the tweets. Of all the social media options, it's by far my favourite and the one I use most often.

Facebook Shortcut
This is not the Facebook app. I choose not to use the Facebook app and instead have a a shortcut to the mobile version of facebook.com. This shortcut defaults to a list that allows me to bypass the shitty algorithm.

Stitcher
I listen to a lot of podcasts, and I use Stitcher to manage them. I cherry pick episodes from my favourite podcasts and they're downloaded automatically when I'm on wifi. Then, they're literally stitched together for seamless enjoyment.

Instagram
My teenaged kids enjoy Instagram, and I'm warming up to it. I don't post often, but I like to check in once or twice a day.

Feedly
I'm sure I'm showing my age again, but I swear by RSS. I subscribe to many, many RSS feed and manage them all via Feedly. The desktop and mobile versions are synchronized, making this app ideal for me.

Flickr
I've been using Flickr to store photos since 2004 and I still swear by it. It's why I can throw my phone into Lake Ontario without losing a single pic.

Skype
Like Hangouts, I use Skype for long distance chats. Even Microsoft has been unable to ruin this useful tool.

As for my B-Team, on the second page, I have the following:

  • Flipp - for finding deals
  • theScore - for sports updates
  • PayTM - for paying bills
  • TinyScanner - for scanning documents
  • Sync - for reddit
  • All the other Google stuff, from Drive to Play Music to Contacts

What are your essential apps?

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 289: Andy Maize from Skydiggers

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 289In this 289th episode, Mike chats with Andy Maize of Skydiggers about the origins of the band, the highlights, the lowlights, Gord Downie and giving back. This episode is exactly 1:21:37.

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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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