October 2003 Archives

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Radio Delays

Radio DelaysIn a previous blog entry, I complained about the delay between the play by play on the radio and the visual on television during Blue Jay games. I prefer the call from Tom Cheek and Jerry Howarth to the television commentators so I wanted to mute the tv and listen to the radio. It was impossible because of a four second time difference between the two mediums.

Last night I tried the same thing during the Leafs game. This was strictly an experiment because I lack the same sentimental attachment to Leaf radio commentators Dennis Beyak and Jim Ralph. Again, there was a very annoying four second delay between the radio audio and the television audio.

Moments ago I tried the same experiment during the Raptors game. The funny thing is the television and radio feed for Raptor games on Sportsnet are identical. They simply simulcast Chuck Swirsky and Leo Rautins on The Fan 590. This is a cheesy move in my opinion as you can't call a game on television the way you'd call a game for the radio, but I digress... There was a delay, but this time the radio was only about two seconds ahead of the television.

Can someone explain this delay to me? Is this the result of my digital cable terminal? There must be a technical explanation for this phenomenon. Please share your theories because it's driving me nuts.

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Maple Leafs 3, Sabres 5

Go Leafs Go!I have a theory. During Sabre-Leaf games at the HSBC arena in Buffalo, it's common to see a sea of blue and white in the stands. With tickets at the ACC almost impossible to come by, Leaf fans in Southern Ontario often make the trip Westbound on the QEW across the border to catch their beloved Maple Leafs. This must have an impact on Sabre players when they see and hear the "home" crowd is rooting for the opposition. The psychological effect is one that results in impassioned play and a "win at all costs" attitude. This must be why the Leafs have only won there twice in their past sixteen games.

If you're looking for other reasons for the loss, there are a few more tangible explanations. No puck control, sloppy play in their own end and a powerplay that practically gives the opposition the advantage. This teams looks far less impressive than their record indicates.

Current Record  Last Game Season Leaders
11 points
5-3 Loss vs. Buffalo M. Sundin - 6
J. Nieuwendyk - 6
O. Nolan - 5

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Happy Samhain!

Happy Halloween!Halloween is an Irish holiday. It's true. About 2,000 years ago, Celts celebrated Samhain on October 31st and this Samhain festival eventually evolved into what we know as Halloween.

The Celtic festival of Samhain took place on October 31st because the Celts celebrated their new year on November 1st, a day that marked the end of summer. Winter was a time associated with death so the whacky Celts believed ghosts of the dead returned to earth on the night before. When Christianity permeated Irish society in the 800s, Samhain evolved into All Saints' Day which translated into All Hallows. The evening was naturally referred to as All Hallows Eve and after a few pints of Guiness All Hallows Eve sounds an awful lot like Halloween.

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Mike's Mailbag

EmailAn email to Mike: Will you be posting Toronto Raptor Recaps following every game like you do for the Leafs and Bills?

Mike says: Good question. As a die hard Leaf fan, I don't mind posting a brief recap with some of my observations following their 82 regular season games and many (cross your fingers) playoff games. It's a labour of love. I post Bills recaps because in a sixteen game season, every game is that much more important. Will I be posting recaps following every Raptor game? No, but I will write an entry if anything particularly interesting occurs and following each Raptor playoff game.

The Toronto Raptors are tipping off their season tonight at home against New Jersey. I anticipate a dramatic turn around following a horrific injury riddled season last year. If Vince Carter can stay relatively healthy, a playoff position is a virtual certainty. With Lenny Wilkens out of the picture, we actually have a coach who will coach. There will be game plans and strategies implemented. I predict a sixth place finish in the Eastern Conference and an upset victory in the first round of the playoffs. Look for Chris Bosh to contend for Rookie of the Year honours. Go Raptors Go!

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Toronto Newspapers

NewspapersI've had The Toronto Star delivered to my home for as long as I can remember. Of the four Toronto dailies, it's always been my preference. I've tried the Toronto Sun , The National Post and The Globe and Mail, but none offer that desired balance of news, sports, entertainment and insight I find I get with The Star. There is a reason it has a healthy lead in the Toronto newspaper war.

Earlier this year, I let my subscription for the Star run out. I no longer get a newspaper delivered to my door. It's a dying medium that no longer receives a slice of my hard earned dollar. The newspaper as a communications tool is no longer relevant and has been supplanted by the Internet. I have immediate access to current news all day long at my PC. With excellent news services like Google News, I have access to different newspapers and news radio and television stations all across Canada and around the world. Why would I want to get home from work only to read news that's already a day old? Besides, I still read the majority of articles printed in the Star online and even receive their free morning email newsletter with the top headlines from each section. The Internet is a far superior tool for accessing news. I suspect the newspaper industry will continue to lose readers each year as more and more people follow my lead and turn to the web for their information.

We want instant access to a vast number of news sources and we want this news to be fresh and available on demand. Only one medium offers this capability and you're using it right now. What will we line our bird cages with in 2010?

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Dark Nights Ahead

TimeToronto is in the Eastern Standard Time zone which means we all moved our clocks back an hour to return to Standard Time. Since doing this on Saturday after the Leaf game, I'm not happy with the results.

We've essentially taken an hour of sunlight we'd experience in the evening and moved it to the morning. Wouldn't it be more beneficial for our society to keep that hour of sunlight in the evening where it can be enjoyed? Does anyone really care if there's light at 7am?

We first introduced Daylight Saving Time during wartime as an effort to conserve fuel needed to produce electric power. It's time we stay there. The average citizen is no longer a farmer who follows the sun's lead in determining an appropriate hour to wake up and go to sleep. Typically, we're working from 9 to 5, Monday through Friday, and Standard Time is no longer our best option. I suggest that when we return to Daylight Saving Time in April 2004, we stay there. Just say no on October 26, 2004. Help me spread the word.

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Maple Leafs 2, Thrashers 3

Go Leafs Go!There is no excuse for failing to preserve a 2-0 lead with less than 9 minutes remaining. This is especially true when you're playing at home with a veteran-laden line-up. With two goals in a twenty-two second span in the third, the young Thrashers managed to force overtime where they would eventually win during some extremely rare 3 on 3 action.

The unlikely offensive hero on the night was Tom Fitzgerald who scored a goal and an assist and had several other chances. On the negative side of the spectrum, Nik Antropov left with a separated shoulder and is out of action indefinitely.

Current Record  Last Game Season Leaders
11 points
3-2 OT Loss vs. Atlanta M. Sundin - 5
J. Nieuwendyk - 5
O. Nolan - 4

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EoY and I

EoY: Never!I have never lived EoY. In fact, whenever possible, I avoid EoY completely. This has been the case my entire life. Whether it's going to school, a movie theatre, out to dinner, shopping, for a bike ride or even to a concert or sporting event, I am least comfortable when I'm EoY.

EoY, for the unaware, stands for East of Yonge. Yonge Street is the longest street in the world and it effectively divides Toronto into two distinct realms. I am familiar with just about every nook and cranny in the western realm, but once I break the invisible plane and venture EoY, nothing is certain. Furthermore, nothing is desirable. Quite frankly, I can't think of very many destinations EoY that are worth this risk. Everything I could possibly want to see or do can be done avoiding EoY.

If you must go EoY for work purposes, this is an acceptable exception. Otherwise, this old adage rings as true today as it did years ago when I coined it: "If it can be done without going EoY, do it!"

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Bills 5, Chiefs 38

Go Bills Go!Synonyms for pitiful at Thesaurus.com: deplorable, despicable, dismal, distressed, distressing, abject, affecting, afflicted, base, beggarly, cheap, cheerless, comfortless, commiserative, contemptible, fish, grievous, heart-rending, heartbreaking, inadequate, insignificant, joyless, lamentable, low, mean, miserable, mournful, moving, paltry, pathetic, piteous, pitiable, sad, scummy, scurvy, shabby, sorrowful, sorry, stirring, suffering, tearful, unhappy, vile, wimpy, woeful, worthless and wretched.

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Maple Leafs 4, Capitals 1

Go Leafs Go!Suddenly, things are looking up for the Leafs. Bryan McCabe played his first game of the season and looked very good scoring a goal and adding an assist. Other positives were the play of Eddie Belfour, great penalty killing and the end of Mats Sundin's scoring slump. My only question is, were the Leafs that good or were the Capitals that bad?

Of course, the highlight of this game occurred before the puck was dropped. Doug Gilmour was honoured at the ACC for his five years and five minutes of outstanding service for the blue and white. I wrote about #93 when he announced his retirement, when God took him away and prior to last season's trade deadline when I urged Pat Quinn to trade for him. Gilmour was the heart and soul of this squad when he took us within a game of the Cup final and he deserves all the praise in the world. I will continue to wear my Gilmour jersey with pride.

Speaking of the tribute, if it was good enough for Seinfeld, I suppose it's good enough for Dougie. Green Day's Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) has become the de facto standard for farewells. I can't imagine a goodbye video montage without it.

Current Record  Last Game Season Leaders
10 points
4-1 Win vs. Washington M. Sundin - 4
O. Nolan - 4
J. Nieuwendyk - 4

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New Videos

New VideosThere's an episode of The Simpsons that is guaranteed to invoke a rather humourous response from James. In Stark Raving Dad, Leon Kompowski, the man who acts like Michael Jackson, helps Bart compose a song for Lisa's birthday. The resulting piece of music causes James to get up and do the funniest little dance you've ever seen.

Earlier this week I captured video of this performance without intending to post it on this site. Due to popular demand (my brother Ryan has requested it), I'm now sharing a couple of clips of James dancing to "Happy Birthday, Lisa" in Videos.

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Touch 'em all Joe!

Touch 'em all Joe!My mother recently asked me why it takes so much for my brothers and I to get excited about something. I paused to ponder the question and realized that men in their 20s and early 30s rarely appear particularly jovial. Immediately I thought of Bart and Lisa's response to a similar question: "We're the MTV generation, we feel neither highs nor lows". When I thought about it further, I managed to localize this reaction (or lack thereof) and came up with another theory.

Just to clarify, we do get excited about things and feel positively about certain events and occurences, it's just that to an observer, we appear to shrug everything off as pure happenstance. Why are we so jaded? Blame Joe Carter.

Ten years ago Thursday, Joe Carter came to the plate in the ninth inning of game six of the World Series. My Toronto Blue Jays led the series 3 games to 2, but trailed in the game 6-5. With Mitch Williams on the mound for the Philadelphia Phillies and Ricky Henderson and Paul Molitor on base, Joe hit a 2-2 pitch over the left field wall at SkyDome to give the Blue Jays their second World Series in a row. Earlier this month, I posted Tom Cheek's call of this moment as my quote of the week.

I can't accurately describe how my brothers and I reacted to this moment. When that ball cleared the fence, the feeling was ecstatic. The joy was overwhelming and we all shed tears. Heck, just thinking about that moment is causing my eyes to swell.

Joe Carter's World Series ending home run for the team I had worshipped since the summer of '83 is the reason it takes so much to get a rise out my brothers and I. The bar was raised to such an extreme height, that feeling may never be felt again. Many of you reading this are probably thinking I should have had a similar reaction watching my wife give birth to my son. I was extremely happy when I first met James, but it's different. Although we had hoped and prayed Carter would pull through, he could have struck out on that pitch and we could have lost the series in seven. Instead, he created a moment in time of unmatchable intoxication. When my son was born, I saw it coming. There was joy and relief, but not a split second of "Yah!!!". My brothers visited James at the hospital that night, but there was no pile-on as there was that night of October 23rd, 1993 when Joe "touched them all".

Thanks Joe for providing an entire city with a moment of collective elation. Until the Leafs win a Stanley Cup with an overtime goal, I fear it may never happen again.

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My Quote of the Week

Mike's Quote of the Week"An expert is one who knows more and more about less and less until he knows absolutely everything about nothing."
      - Anonymous

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Maple Leafs 5, Coyotes 4

Go Leafs Go!This game was worth the fatigue I'll experience today. In the second period alone the Leafs managed to score more goals than they had in any previous game this season. Owen Nolan led the way by scoring his first two goals of the season. The offense is awakening!

Despite allowing four goals, Mikael Tellqvist looked sharp in stopping 29 Coyote shots. I was particularly impressed by the series of spectacular saves he made to preserve a 1-0 lead while the Leafs were short two men for a couple of minutes in the first. When your goalie is 39 years old, it's reassuring to see there's youth waiting to be served. Of course, the best part of a Tellqvist game is getting the opportunity to admire his awesome goalie mask. That image of Borje Salming is worth staying up late for.

Current Record  Last Game Season Leaders
8 points
5-4 Win vs. Phoenix T. Kaberle - 4
O. Nolan - 4
J. Nieuwendyk - 3

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Stop Spam!

Stop Spam!I fondly recall a time when having four new messages in my inbox meant receiving four pieces of communiqué I actually wanted. I don't think I've experienced this sensation since the '90s. My personal email address has become a target for unwanted solicitation for everything from fake diplomas to penile enlargements and everything in between.

I have only myself to blame. I had links to my email address on the bottom of every page of this site and again on the Contact Mike page. Spammers use e-mail harvesting software to scour the web looking for email addys. In an effort to fight this war against spam, I have removed my email address from this site. You'll still find my email address on the Contact Mike page, but it's an image and not text. Spammers won't be the wiser.

Until we defeat this evil empire, I'm mike(symbol you get when you press SHIFT + 2)torontomike.com.

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Maple Leafs 3, Stars 1

Go Leafs Go!The Leafs played a pretty good road game to defeat one of the best in the west. They showed uncharacteristic discipline, the defense held Dallas to only 16 shots and they overcame a third period deficit in a very tough arena to play in. Even Mats Sundin contributed with his first point of the season.

This was the first game all season in which we managed to score more than two goals. Considering the third goal was an empty netter, it's safe to say the Leafs offense has to improve. I think it's great that Pat Quinn wants four balanced lines to roll throughout the game, but perhaps it's time to stack two lines with our most talented forwards? Spreading the wealth as Quinn does doesn't seem to be working.

A quick note about Matt Stajan... He's been one of the few Leafs who has shown heart and offense game in and game out. Last night he was stuck on the fourth line grinding it out along side Wade Belak and Alexei Ponikarovsky. Perhaps we should give this offensively gifted youngster a shot at playing along side Alexander Mogilny and Mats Sundin?

Current Record  Last Game Season Leaders
6 points
3-1 Win vs. Dallas R. Jackman - 3
M. Stajan - 3
T. Kaberle - 3

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Elliot Who?

Elliot SmithI maintain a Dead Pool page as part of this website. The most popular part of this page is the ongoing list of celebrities who have passed away. Everytime I hear or read about the death of someone who is well known in the public sphere, I add their name, age at the time of death and a brief note about why they were famous. Today I read that Elliott Smith, a singer-songwriter who was critically acclaimed, had committed suicide.

If you visit my Dead Pool page, you'll notice I didn't document Elliot Smith's passing. The simple truth is that I've never heard of Elliot Smith. He released five solo albums but I don't think my ears ever intercepted a single note from one of them. Now he's dead from a self-inflicted stab wound and I can't justify adding his name along side Joey Ramone, Ted Williams, David Brinkley and others who have bought the farm since my brothers and I drafted our Dead Pool in September of 2000.

My intent here is not to kick a man when he's down. It's just that I'm sort of a pop culture junkie and my musical tastes range from Pearl Jam to Johnny Cash to Alice Cooper. How is it that I never heard or read a single thing about Elliot Smith before today? Am I in the minority here? Please drop me a line and let me know if my ignorance is shared among the masses.

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The Alberta Electronic Health RecordThe Internet is a great tool, isn't it? Accessing and sharing information has never been easier. I applaud the Alberta government for introducing The Alberta Electronic Health Record. The Alberta Electronic Health Record is an Internet database of patients' medical information that will be used by almost all health professionals in the province.

Think about it. Every citizen's health record, such as prescription history, allergies, lab test results and ailments, can be accessed by doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other professionals who would need to view and update this information. The end result of this centralized, streamlined communication is better healthcare for patients. All of Canada should follow Alberta's lead.

We must harness the power of the Internet to improve the quality of life for all. Or in this case, maybe the quantity of life too.

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WidescreenThere's a famous deleted scene in Pulp Fiction when Mia Wallace asks Vincent Vega if he's an "Elvis man or a Beatles man". Mia Wallace believes you can tell a great deal about a person by their answer to this question. Today we have another question that is equally as revealing. The answer to this question says more about a person than any other I can think of. This question is none other than Widescreen or Fullscreen?

I can't enjoy a movie unless it's the Widescreen (or Letterbox as it was once known) version. When renting The Matrix Reloaded last weekend, I grabbed the first DVD box I saw on the shelf and proceeded to the checkout counter. As the Rogers drone was scanning my file for late fees, I noticed I had inadvertantly grabbed the Fullscreen version and immediately made a bolt back to the shelf to swap it for the Widescreen version. There are a few reasons for my strong preference.

  • I strongly believe movies should be seen exactly as the Director intended them to be seen.
  • The pan and scan style of Fullscreen means you're only seeing part of the movie.
  • Widescreen is the natural viewing shape for those of us with two eyes.

I'm not alone in this obsession. Widescreen advocates are a vocal bunch.

"This film has been modified from its original version. It has been formatted to fit your screen." - My worst nightmare.

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Maple Leafs 2, Islanders 5

Go Leafs Go!The Maple Leafs' winning streak is over. Is this what happens when Eddie Belfour has an average game? He may be leading the team in scoring, but Ric Jackman simply can't cough up the puck like he did tonight. Mariusz Czerkawski should send him flowers. The Leafs have a measly one singular win to show for their first five contests.

It's times like these you need your leader to carry you on his shoulders. O captain! My captain! Mats Sundin, where are you? It's time to call a spade a spade. The Toronto Maple Leafs will never hoist the Stanley Cup in a parade down Yonge Street so long as Sundin is captain. He's been overrated for years and it's becoming increasingly evident that he has no interest in getting dirty and causing chaos in front of the opposing net. Sundin is slowly but surely approaching Bure territory. In ball hockey, we call his type a goal-suck. This is fine and dandy when you're potting fifty goals a season, but Sundin doesn't have a point all season. You're only as strong as your leader, and the Leafs are in desperate need of new leadership.

Current Record  Last Game Season Leaders
4 points
5-2 Loss vs. NY Islanders R. Jackman - 3
N. Antropov - 2
T. Kaberle - 2

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Leeza Gibbons?

Leeza Gibbons?For years now, we in the Toronto area have been inundated with ads for EZ Rock 97.3 FM featuring Leeza Gibbons. I saw a new spot just last night. A typical 30 second advertisement is Leeza talking about how much she enjoys EZ Rock's syropy format when she's in town. We're privy to footage of Leeza gallavanting around town with Toronto landmarks such as the CN Tower and TTC in the background.

Am I the only one who doesn't get the connection? What does Leeza Gibbons have to do with Toronto? I know she doesn't live here. I know she doesn't work here. Of all the potential spokespeople EZ Rock had to choose from, how do they come up with Leeza Gibbons? My guess is she came surprisingly cheap. It's the only explanation that makes any sense. Either that or Dini Petty had a conflict of interest.

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Bills 24, Redskins 7

Go Bills Go!Now that's more like it. Travis Henry ran for a career-high 167 yards and scored twice to save Gregg Williams' job. Williams has been taking a lot of heat in the Buffalo media for the Bills downward spiral following week 2. Howls for his head have been growing louder by the day.

With the Bills induction of linebacker Darryl Talley onto the Wall of Fame at halftime, the greatest player in Bills history was visible along the sideline. Pro Football Hall of Fame member Jim Kelly will always be my all-time favourite Bill. Kelly owns the Bills record for passing attempts (4,779), passes completed (2,874), yards passing (35,467), passing percentage (60.14%) and consecutive games with at least one TD pass (18). In my opinion, he was still the best player on the field at Ralph Wilson Stadium today.

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Maple Leafs 1, Canadiens 0

Go Leafs Go!Leafs win! Leafs win! Thanks to Eddie Belfour's 66th career shutout, the Leafs have crawled their way back to .500. Eternal optimists in the crowd will be quick to point out the Leafs are unbeaten in three.

Belfour's played two excellent games in a row. He's going to have to stay sharp for the surprisingly offense-less Leafs to keep their heads above water. Four games into the season the Leafs have managed to score a grand total of five goals. All star forwards Mats Sundin, Owen Nolan, Gary Roberts and Joe Nieuwendyk have combined for zero points. Perhaps we should thank our lucky stars we only have the one loss. Things could be a helluva lot worse.

Current Record  Last Game Season Leaders
4 points
1-0 Win vs. Montreal N. Antropov - 2
R. Jackman - 2
T. Kaberle - 2

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My Quote of the Week

Mike's Quote of the Week"Music is everybody's possession. It's only publishers who think that people own it."
      - John Lennon

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New Pictures

New PicturesSix new pictures have been posted in Pictures. All were taken within the last two weeks.

James' favourite words these days are "duck", "bus", "hi", "Dad", "Mom", "truck", "nose" "Homer", "go", "bye", "horse", "juice", "hot", "bottle", "no" and "mine". It's tough having a kid with a greater vocabulary than me.

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Maple Leafs 2, Devils 2

Go Leafs Go!What a game! An epic battle between a dynasty from the Tri-State area and a visiting team that hasn't won it all in decades. This game was so close, extra time was required. In the end, a Booner was the difference and the Curse of the Bambino prevailed. You didn't think I was writing about the Leaf game, did you?

As for our beloved Leafs, they didn't deserve to win but they should have won. With two seconds to play, New Jersey stripped us of our first win of this young season. The point we did earn belongs to Eddie Belfour.

Current Record  Last Game Season Leaders
2 points
2-2 Tie vs. New Jersey N. Antropov - 2
A. Mogilny - 1
D. Tucker - 1

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I Am Steve Bartman

Steve BartmanI am Steve Bartman. Well, that's not entirely true. I am actually Toronto Mike, but I could be Steve Bartman. For those of you who either live in a cave or simply don't follow sports at all, Steve Bartman is the Chicago Cubs fan who tried to grab a foul ball in the eighth inning of Game 6 of the National League championship series. At the time, the Cubs were up 3-0 in the game and 3-2 in the series. They were five outs away from returning to the World Series for the first time since 1945. They haven't won a World Series since 1908. Steve Bartman's contact with the foul ball prevented Moises Alou from squeezing the second out of the inning. The rest, is history.

When I attend Jay games at SkyDome, it's all about catching the elusive foul ball. It is the holy grail for ball fans. I even cherish a couple of home run balls I caught during batting practice (off the bats of Richie Sexson and Shannon Stewart respectively). If you're ever lucky enough to have a foul ball land in your range, nothing else matters. You enter the zone to completely focus on the task at hand...catching the ball. There but for the grace of God go I. I am Steve Bartman.

While we're on the topic of baseball, much has been made recently of the two curses in the Majors. Cubs fans are once again blaming the goat for their loss to the Florida Marlins and Red Sox fans are painfully aware of the Curse of the Bambino. I don't buy the goat curse. The Cubs are suffering from a deadly combination of bad luck and poor talent, but not a curse. This goat curse wasn't applied until 1945 yet the Cubs haven't won a World Series since 1908. The Red Sox curse, on the other hand, is for real. As I write this, they've yet to start game seven in the Bronx, but I'm 100% certain the Red Sox will lose. I fully believe in the Curse of the Bambino. The Red Sox are cursed for selling Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees in 1920. Bill Buckner will back me up on this.

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Two Prime Ministers

Two LeadersWho's in charge here? Last time I checked my grade nine history book, the person who leads the party holding a majority in the House of Commons is Prime Minister of Canada. At this moment, that person is Jean Chrétien. On November 14th, that person will become Paul Martin. All seems clear, right? Then why is Chrétien waiting until late February to retire?

What we have here is essentially a nation with two leaders. As I've often said to Taryn, when both of us are watching James, nobody is watching James. Without a clear Prime Minister running the show, we as a nation are paralyzed. This is a dangerous scenario for a so-called democratic nation.

Please Mr. Chrétien, put your ego aside and concede full power to Martin on November 15th. The True North, strong and free depends on it.

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Maple Leafs 2, Capitals 2

Go Leafs Go!After Saturday's game, I was just glad to see some of our forwards actually made it to the ACC for this one. Still, when you out shoot a team by a two-to-one margin and can still only garner a tie at home, something is amiss.

The Leafs have to become a more disciplined team. Both Washington goals came on the power play, both the result of bad penalties. I was glad to see Pat Quinn benching Wade Belak after he took yet another unnecessary trip to the box, but this morning's paper suggests this was because Quinn thought the refs were unfairly targeting Belak and he had to get him off the ice to stop the bleeding. I hope this isn't true. I hope Quinn benched Belak as a signal to him and others that bad penalties will not be tolerated this season. If you don't obey, you don't play.

Current Record  Last Game Season Leaders
1 point
2-2 Tie vs. Washington A. Mogilny - 1
N. Antropov - 1
R. Jackman - 1

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New Videos

New VideosSeven new videos of James, all taken yesterday during our Thanksgiving get-together, are now available in Videos. There is some priceless video of James blowing bubbles, talking on a cell phone and some very intimate footage of Steve and Homer.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!We Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving each year on the second Monday in October whereas Americans celebrate Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November. Personally, I'd rather have the holiday in October when the fall weather allows you to venture outside for a nice walk or game of football. You just know late November is going to be freezing and it's way too close to the Christmas and New Years Day holidays for my liking.

Did you know the first North American thanksgiving event occurred in Newfoundland in 1578? In the 1600s, Samuel de Champlain and the French Settlers who came with him established an "Order of Good Cheer." This group would hold huge celebrations marking the harvests and other events, sharing their food with Native American neighbours. Happy Thanksgiving!

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Bills 3, Jets 30

Go Bills Go!Saved by the bird! Allow me to explain... Yesterday's Bills game was the first of the year I didn't watch in its entirety. We were at my mom's for Thanksgiving Dinner and turkey was served shortly after kick off. Sure, the game was on in the background, but there was enough distraction to block out the horrific images transpiring on the television.

The previously 0-4 Jets sacked Drew Bledsoe seven times and held Travis Henry to 53 yards while making mincement of the Bills defense. You can't blame a 27 point drubbing by the lowly Jets on the absense of Eric Moulds, can you?

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Maple Leafs 0, Canadiens 4

Go Leafs Go!All week I've been telling anyone who'd listen how awesome our forwards are this year. On paper, we have three amazing lines to balance the offensive attack. Sure, our defense is going to be an issue, but with forwards like Mats Sundin, Alexander Mogilny, Owen Nolan, Gary Roberts, Nik Antropov and Joe Nieuwendyk leading the attack, we are in good shape. Or so I thought.

Watching tonight's game was painful. There was no offense to speak of. Our star forwards were virtually invisible. Only teenager Matt Stajan seemed to have a spark. We were humiliated by a far inferior team playing in our own building. The only thing I hate more than losing is losing to the Montreal Canadiens. The last time we played this horribly was...well, it was our last game that mattered when we were blown out by Philadelphia to close out the first round of last year's playoffs. Not to worry. One game does not a season make.

Current Record  Last Game Season Leaders
0 points
4-0 Loss vs. Montreal None Yet

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My Quote of the Week

Mike's Quote of the Week"The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently."
      - Friedrich Nietzsche

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CDA couple of days ago I wrote about Alex Halderman who pointed out copy protection software could be blocked if people used the SHIFT key when they inserted a CD. This morning I read in the news that SunnComm Technologies, the company that developed the anticopying technology in question, was suing Halderman as a result.

In a statement, SunnComm alleges Halderman violated criminal provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in disclosing the existence of a driver the anticopying software loads on the computer when the CD is played. Probably a result of some hefty negative feedback, they've just retracted and announced they would not pursue the matter in court.

Even threatening a lawsuit in this instance is completely absurd. Why not sue Microsoft for this article on their site? After all, it is Microsoft that enables you to stop AutoRun by holding down the SHIFT key. As for the idiots at SunnComm, would you invest?

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On Second Thought

Remaining CoolIn a recent blog entry I questioned whether a tune can be considered cool if it's being played on CHUM FM. I pondered whether being played on an MOR station was the kiss of death for a tune, no matter how good it is. I've been giving this concept a great deal of thought lately.

I've come to the realization that we can't blame a tune for being added to the play list of an inoffensive and bland radio station. Since writing that entry, I've heard songs from Our Lady Peace and The Tragically Hip on CHUM FM while underging physiotherapy. Those are two of my favourite bands of all time, as you'll see in HyperLists. Having one of their ballads played on CHUM FM did not lessen their coolness. Judging from the emails I received in response to that posting, many of you agree. As one person noted, CHUM FM probably played the hell out of Green Day's Time Of Your Life. That's still a great tune, right?

Sometimes even Soccer Moms can get behind a decent tune. I'm sure one of them has even blasted Pearl Jam's Better Man in their Volvo while sipping their Arabian Mocha Sanani from Starbucks. Perish the thought.

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Another Mike Boon

EmailHere's an email I received.

Greetings Mike Boon.

My name is also Mike Boon and I am doing a solo comedy show in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Stumbled across your site when I put my own name into Google. Just to say, I wanted torontomike.com for my own website, but you beat me to it.

You might want to check out the website www.boonvilledailynews.com. A whole town named after us!! I want to go there!!!

Kind regards,
Mike Boon.

PS: Country of origin New Zealand, currently living in Edinburgh, Scotland.

If you're a Mike Boon, I want to hear from you. Contact me, and I'll post your message on this site. The more Mike Boon's, the better.

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CD Ripping

CDSince the dawn of Napster a few years ago, the recording industry has been trying to play catch up as they lose business to MP3 rippers sharing their files via P2P networks. Ask the average computer savvy person in their 20s when they last purchased a CD. For many it has been years. The recording industry has to be feeling the pinch.

In response to this manic ripping, BMG Music has released a CD loaded with anticopying protection in a move to prevent the ripping of files to ones computer. BMG is using anticopying technology from SunnComm Technologie on a new album by some unknown artist by the name of Anthony Hamilton.

Here's my favourite part of the story. Princeton Ph.D. student Alex Halderman has explained on his website how he disabled this copy-protection technology. It's rather complex, so you technophobes should stop reading right now. Halderman explains that you can prevent Windows' AutoRun feature from loading the copy-protection software by - wait for it - simply holding down the Shift key. That's right, if you hold down the shift key, you can still rip the CD as usual. Pure brilliance.

This is an excellent example of why the recording industry will lose this battle. They will always be playing catch-up to a small army of geeks who spend hours upon hours in their basement discovering workarounds to foil the recording industry's best efforts. The only hope for the recording industry? You'll have to read my previous blog on the subject for the answer.

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Kill Bill

Kill BillEarly reviews are in and it looks like Kill Bill is good. Phew! Kill Bill is the 4th film by Quentin Tarantino and is set to be released this Friday. If you've read my HyperLists, you know two of my ten favourite movies of all time were directed by Tarantino.

A visit to the Rotten Tomatoes site for Kill Bill reveals a very fresh rating. This would make Tarantino four for four following his awesome debut Reservoir Dogs, his unbelievably good follow-up Pulp Fiction and his highly underrated Jackie Brown. Watch the Kill Bill trailer and get pumped.

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Sidney Crosby

Sidney CrosbySidney Crosby. Are you familiar with that name? You will be.

Sidney Crosby of the Rimouski Oceanic is the CHL Player of the Week. Crosby scored five goals and added four assists for nine points in four games last week. This 16-year-old native of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia is being touted as "The Next One". Wayne Gretzky himself has stated that Crosby was the best player he'd seen since Mario Lemieux. Not eligible for the NHL entry draft until 2005, the legend of Sidney Crosby is already approaching epic proportions.

No pressure...

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Bills 22, Bengals 16

Go Bills Go!It took overtime for the home team Bills to get past the Bengals. If the Bills are truly a Super Bowl contender, this game should never have gone into extra time. Listening to WGR Sports Radio 55 after the game, the consesus among Bills fans is that this is a poorly coached team that will ultimately beat themselves if allowed to do so. Thankfully, Drew Bledsoe engineered the 22nd fourth-quarter comeback of his career and the Bills are 3-2 and face the awful Jets next week.

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New Raptor Logo

New Raptor LogoThe Toronto Raptors have just unvieled their new alternate road uniform and logo. The Raptors will wear uniforms with this new logo during a minimum 10 road games and 4 home games, including opening night on October 29th when the Raptors take on the New Jersey Nets.

When the Blue Jays unveiled their new logo last month (see September 2, 2003 / 18:42 EST), the one thing that initially struck me was the absence of the maple leaf. The maple leaf was a fixture of the Blue Jays logo since their inception. The biggest addition to this new Raptors logo is the maple leaf. The Raptors are clearly making an effort to market the team as Canada's team whereas the Blue Jays are trying to minimize this perception.

The paranoid android in me fears the Blue Jays are being rebranded as the Jays without a maple leaf in sight because the intent is to move the franchise out of Toronto one day down the road. The Albuquerque Jays? I'd sooner choose death.

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My Quote of the Week

Mike's Quote of the Week"Touch 'em all Joe. You'll never hit a bigger home run in your life."
      - Tom Cheek

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Confusing Ballots

Democracy?Like thousands of Ontarians, I voted last night. We are fortunate to have fair and democratic methods in place for the selecting of political representation. My concern is with the nature of our political system and the ballots used to poll the electorate.

Although we were choosing a Premier for our province, we don't actually vote for the Premier. If you wanted Dalton McGuinty to become Ontario's Premier, you would vote for the MPP candidate from McGuinty's Liberal Party in your riding. Essentially, you're electing a political party, not necessarily an individual. Here's the problem. The ballot simply listed the names of those running in your riding. The names are listed in alphabetical order with no party affiliation identified. If you entered the voting booth wanting to cast your vote for Ernie Eve's Progressive Conservative Party, you had to know who on the ballot represented his Party.

Considering the fact our vote for an MPP is actually a vote for that Party's leader to become Premier of Ontario, shouldn't the candidate's Party be included on the ballot? Doesn't this make sense? The goal is make it as clear as possible for the voter so they are best able to cast their vote the way they want to, isn't it? Ideally, everyone would know the actual name of the candidate they are voting for, but I'm sure many just knew whether they wanted to vote for McGuinty, Eves or Hampton. The ballots I saw yesterday would leave these people in the dark.

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The EA Sports Jinx

EA Sports JinxThe sports section of The Toronto Star has a very interesting article today from Garth Woolsey on the EA curse. EA makes sports video games. In fact, the only video games I play come from EA with my favourite being their NHL hockey series. A big honour in the world of video gaming is appearing on the cover of one of these games from EA.

Woolsey was commenting on the curse that has befallen those athletes appearing on the covers of EA Sports games recently. Dany Heatley is featured on the cover of EA's NHL 2004. We all know of his tragic car crash earlier this week. Michael Vick appears on the cover of EA's John Madden Football. Vick subsequently broke his fibula. Randy Johnson appears on the cover of EA's Triple Play Baseball game. Johnson had to undergo arthroscopic knee surgery and only won six games last year following a 24 win campaign in 2002.

The reason we in Toronto should be particularly concerned about this curse is because of who is appearing on the cover of EA's NBA Live 2004. Air Canada himself, Vince Carter. Just what we needed...

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The Kiss Of Death

Becoming UncoolThree evenings a week I undergo physiotherapy for my injury (see September 24, 2003 / 19:43 EST). The clinic plays CHUM FM over the ceiling speakers to entertain us while the various machines work to soothe and heal our pains.

Yesterday I was particularly surprised and concerned upon hearing Finger Eleven's "One Thing". This is a song I like and even nominated for inclusion on Smells Like Sour 10. Hearing it played on CHUM FM instantly stripped it of any and all coolness. How can a tune be considered cool if it's being played on CHUM FM?

There is an unwritten rule in the GTA that no song being played by CHUM FM or CHFI can retain its integrity. It's the kiss of death. For those of you reading this from outside the GTA, CHUM FM and CHFI are our local MOR stations. They play nice and safe pop songs for the middle aged masses...inoffensive and bland. Every city has one or two. Other songs I typically hear on this station during physio are Jewel's "Intuition" and Train's "Calling All Angels".

Say it ain't so Finger Eleven. Say it ain't so.

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Crosswalks Don't Work!An 11-year-old boy is in serious condition at the Hospital for Sick Children after being struck at a crosswalk on Lake Shore Blvd. W. near Royal York Rd. Back in August, pedestrians were struck at two different crosswalks one day after the other. Pedestrians being hit while crossing at crosswalks in Toronto is becoming an all too common occurrence.

The problem is crosswalks don't work in Toronto. Far too many motorists choose to ignore them altogether. City driving has become so intense and stressful that drivers have developed a selfish "me first" mentality. Stopping at a crosswalk has become a hassle one would rather not deal with. Everyone is more concerned with saving time than lives.

It's at the point where you're risking your life using a crosswalk. Unless every lane is occupied by a car that has come to a complete stop and has made eye contact with you, crosswalks are potential death traps. Every crosswalk should be replaced by a street light that will always favour the flow of traffic with a green light unless a pedestrian presses a button. This way traffic is never impeded by unnecessary red lights but pedestrians can simply press a button, wait for a walk signal and cross safely while drivers are forced to rescind the right of way. Time has left our crosswalks behind.

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