November 2003 Archives

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New Videos

New VideosThe month almost slipped by without a single new video of James. That borders on child abuse, doesn't it? No worries though, because I found some time today to pick up the video camera and take some footage while the calendar still reads November. You'll find three new clips of the boy wonder in Videos.

Speaking of the little prince, he's begun to assert his independence. I believe this is what the books refer to as the terrible twos. I'm starting to hear phrases like "no daddy" on a regular basis. James seems almost surprised to hear that not everything is his. "Mine, daddy" he'll tell me, and then act shocked when I remind him that the keys/converter/steak knife/camera/wallet is actually mine. As I told him this morning, this is not a democracy. This is a dictatorship and my word is law. Cookies are not for breakfast (except for the odd time when mommy isn't looking).

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Bills 24, Giants 7

Go Bills Go!Drew Bledsoe threw for 252 yards and two touchdowns as the Bills ended a four game losing streak. The Bills had not scored a touchdown on the road since September 14th and Bledsoe hadn't thrown a touchdown pass since October 19th going into this afternoon's game. No wonder the Bills will miss the playoffs for the fourth season in a row.

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Dubya Delusional?

DubyaGeorge Dubya Bush's European Vacation is over. One little tidbit from his meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair a week ago deserves closer attention. According to the transcript, Dubya was asked by a member of the British press "Why do they hate you, Mr. President? Why do they hate you in such numbers?" Dubya's response? "I don't know that they do."

Just last week I suggested that getting all of your news from chief of staff Andrew Card and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice might not be the best way to remain objective. "I don't know that they do" pretty much sums up his complete lack of understanding of the world around him. Was he not aware tens of thousands of demonstrators were marching through the heart of London in protest? They toppled and burned a life-size effigy in Trafalgar Square to show their anger for the Iraq war. The Australian states in an article this morning that Bush is generating real animosity, and not just outside the US. In a recent Time magazine poll, 48 per cent of Americans said they were unlikely to vote for Bush next November. This depth of hatred for an American President hasn't been seen in decades. To quote the article, "Nobody hated Bush's father, or really hated Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter or Gerald Ford." Bill Schneider, a political analyst with CNN and the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, is quoted as saying "There is real anger against Bush, but it's different to Clinton, I would ask conservatives why they hated Clinton, they would talk about his behaviour and his values, not his policies. He was a draft dodger, an abortion promoter, a gun hater, a gay backer. It was his values. Ask liberals why they're angry with Bush and it's his policies: Iraq, the Patriot Act, the environment, Iraq, oil drilling in Alaska, Iraq."

Bush doesn't know he's disliked by so many. Somewhere in Texas, a village is missing its idiot.

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Farewell to the Junk Yard Dog

JYDBack on February 22, 2001, in a far more innocent world than the one we live in today, the Toronto Raptors and Detroit Pistons completed a trade. Leaving Toronto for the motor city were Corliss Williamson, Tyrone Corbin, Kornel David and a draft pick in exchange for Eric Montross and Jerome Williams. Jerome Williams, better known to fans as the Junk Yard Dog, was so excited at this news he drove all night during a snowstorm to Toronto. His enthusiasm was everpresent from this moment on. JYD clearly loved playing for this city and he never gave less than 100% as a result.

The rumours that have been circulating for days about a blockbuster deal between the Raptors and Chicago Bulls came to fruition yesterday as JYD accompanied unhappy Antonio Davis and Chris Jeffries to the windy city in exchange for Jalen Rose, Donyell Marshall and Lonny Baxter. When JYD heard the news, he wept.

I happen to like this deal as one that will help my team, but I'm sorry to see Jerome Willims go. I'll never forget that goofy grin and constant interaction with the ACC faithful, not to mention a ton of rebounds. They don't grow NBA players like that anymore and that's a shame.

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Maple Leafs 2, Senators 1

Go Leafs Go!Food tastes better, music sounds better and everything appears that much brighter today. The Leafs have won four in a row after defeating our provincial rivals from Ottawa last night.

I fittingly watched this game from Joe Nieuwendyk's hometown of Whitby, Ontario to witness his return after playing only one of the previous 12 games. He looked good and provided a perfect screen on Bryan McCabe's winning goal late in the second period.

Despite dominating against the Senators in the playoffs, the Leafs haven't fared well against them in the regular season. In fact, prior to last night the Leafs had only won once in eight trips to the Corel Centre and only three times in their last 16 regular season matchups overall. The Sens are seriously underperforming and are being toasted by the local media and fans. Prior to this four game winning streak, the Leafs were experiencing the exact same thing. Don't look now, but the Leafs are tied for the point lead in the Northeast division while the Senators dwell in the cellar. I love it!

Current Record  Last Game Season Leaders
29 points
2-1 Win vs. Ottawa M. Sundin - 20
O. Nolan - 15
A. Mogilny - 12

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The Great One

The Great OneAs a child, I idolized Wayne Gretzky. I would read and reread a paperback copy of The Great Gretzky by Terry Jones that I got from a sale at a Toronto Public Library back in 1982. I know this is where I got the book because I'm looking at it right now and there is a stamp that reads "Since this book is no longer in demand Toronto Public Library is offering it for sale".

Back in 1982 Gretzky's professional career was really just beginning. This book was published following his third year in the NHL when he was just 21 and without a Stanley Cup. I was baffled at how good he was at so young an age. There is a story in this book about a ten year old Gretzky scoring 378 goals in a season while I was struggling at Rennie Park in Swansea to score one. At a time when Toronto was celebrating Rick Vaive's 50 goal seasons it was awe inspiring to read about Gretzky's 50 in 39 games. He was The Great One then and he's The Great One now.

During a trip last winter to The Hockey Hall of Fame, I was most intrigued by the Gretzky exhibits. The man has so many NHL records they literally have a Gretzky wing. In a decade during which my home town team was abysmal, I could always root for the Edmonton Oilers in the spring and for Gretzky to win another cup. He won four during the 80s and the heart of many a young hockey fan.

Today, I'm still a Gretzky fan, but I now have one regret regarding #99. I fear he has become commercially overexposed. The man has done so many endorsements over the past fifteen years, it seems I can't turn on the television without seeing him hocking another product. He has done commercials for McDonald's, the Hudson's Bay Co., Hallmark Cards, Nike, Post Cereal, Coca-Cola, Esso and Ford, and that's just a short sample. I'm not suggesting he doesn't have the right to make a buck in this fashion, I'm just wishing he had better picked his spots and approached the selling of Wayne in a more subtle manner. I just don't like seeing him selling cars night after night. My childhood hero is above that sort of thing.

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Joker? Smoker? Midnight Toker?

Cannabis"Duuuuuude, got some bud for me?" That's exactly the type of greeting I'd expect these days from someone on the street. Catch me at the right moment, and you'd swear I had just danced with Mary Jane. It's 4:20 all the time and I've clearly gone to pot, right?

Nah. I seem to be susceptible to dry, irritated eyes at this time of year. The moisture-less air wreaks havoc on my baby blues and gives me a Spicoli gaze. No ganja for me unfortunately, just the red-eyed appearance of such.

When it's really bad, I sometimes think I should wear a tee shirt that states "Currently Sober". Prior to early morning meetings at work, I should volunteer to walk a straight line while touching my nose with my left index finger. I consider it a preemptive strike before I'm requested to donate daily urine samples.

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My Quote of the Week

Mike's Quote of the Week"I got scratches all over my arms. One for each day since I fell apart."
      - Pearl Jam, Footsteps

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Quick Tunage

2 minute songsWhen the deejay on your local alternative music station has a couple of minutes before the traffic/weather/news update, there are usually a handful of songs he or she can go to to bridge the gap. Three songs in particular are often thrown on the air at 28 or 58 minutes past to get you to the bottom or top of the hour. As a result, these three songs still get a substantial amount of airtime despite the fact they are fairly old.

I'm referring to Green Day's Good Riddance (Time of Your Life), Sloan's The Good in Everyone and Blur's Song2. Today alone I heard Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) on two different radio stations and The Good in Everyone on one. All three times it was just before an information break. Being only a couple of minutes long has ensured these songs will receive heavy rotation for years and years to come. Pure brilliance.

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My Link of the Day

Mike's FavouritesSports Nicknames - This is a very large database of various nicknames used by college and professional athletic teams throughout the years. Did you know there are 12 pro/semipro and 26 college teams with the nickname Wildcats? You would if you visited this database.

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The Friday Five

Friday FiveMy Favourite Cartoons as a Child

  1. Transformers
  2. Hulk Hogan's Rockin' Wrestling
  3. The Super Friends Hour
  4. The Smurfs
  5. Battle of the Planets

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Holiday Music

Holiday MusicEZ Rock 97.3, a horrible local radio station that promises buckets of syrop all day long, is promoting itself as Toronto's original holiday music station. They're playing nothing but Christmas carols from now through December. They're including the word "original" in their billing due to the fact other stations are following suit.

Can there possibly be a demand for 24/7 carols day after day for the next month? Do these stations intend to repeat the same 40 minutes of music over and over again? I mean, how many decent holiday songs are there? I can come up with about 15 that you could stomach more than once a year and only about five I really like.

According to CHFI, another local crap station that's promising "All Christmas music from now until Christmas", the top 10 Christmas songs are: Wonderful Christmas Time - Paul McCartney, A Holly Jolly Christmas - Burl Ives, Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree - Brenda Lee, Do They Know It's Christmas Time - Band Aid, Jingle Bell Rock - Bobby Helms, Last Christmas - Wham, The Christmas Song - Nat "King" Cole, Do You Hear What I Hear - Whitney Houston and White Christmas - Bing Crosby. I'm sick of them already.

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Maple Leafs 3, Thrashers 1

Go Leafs Go!You can see a sparkle in the eyes of Torontonians this morning. There's a little more pep in their step. Grown men are giddy. Children are laughing themselves to tears. Despite the rainy morning, it's sunny in hog town without a cloud in the sky. Life is grand. The Leafs have won three in a row.

Owen Nolan has really been coming on lately. I've noticed a distinct improvement in his play over the past four or five games. Last night, he scored a pretty goal, got into an impressive fight and could be seen and heard jawing at his teammates from the bench all night long. This is exactly the kind of play we need from him while our most talented forward recovers from surgery.

Current Record  Last Game Season Leaders
27 points
3-1 Win vs. Atlanta M. Sundin - 20
O. Nolan - 14
A. Mogilny - 12

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New Pictures

New PicturesAbout once a year we throw a roll of black & white film into the camera and shoot away. Everything seems to appear classier in black & white for some reason. I think it's all those stills of distinguished looking gentlemen dressed in their civil war regalia we're used to seeing on the History Channel. There are four black & white shots of James now available in Pictures, including one of him in his civil war regalia.

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Vintage Vincent

Air CanadaWhen Vince Carter is on, there is no better basketball player on the planet. Thankfully for us Raptor fans, he has clearly returned to form after a couple of inconsistent injury plagued campaigns. I was glued to my television last night as Carter threw the entire squad on his back and dragged them kicking and screaming towards a fourth quarter comeback and overtime victory. His unbelievable reverse-360 layup led to a three point play that tied the game and to ensure Atlanta didn't steal it back he made a game saving block at the end of regulation. In overtime, it was clutch shot after clutch shot and a final bucket with 1.2 seconds remaining to clinch the 99-97 victory over the Hawks. "Air Canada" finished with 43 and showed the basketball world one more time what Michael Jordan may have looked like in a Raptors uniform.

On a side note, Vince Carter holds the Raptors record for points in a game with 51 and he did this back on February 27, 2000. I remember this game against the Suns vividly because I was there with my friend Mark. A part of me still hopes Vince stalls at 50 when he's having one of those nights, unless I happen to be at the ACC that night, in which case he can go for 60.

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Armed With A Caulking Gun

The Dead PoolThey say you should learn something new everyday. I can honestly say I learned something new this morning. I learned that if you're ever looking to bypass security in order to gain access to an impregnable area, bringing along a caulking gun "seals" the deal.

This morning I was chatting with a colleague at the office when we heard a rap on the glass door that separates our work space from the public foyer. This particular door acts as a side entry for employees only and requires a security pass. I glanced up to see who was knocking and witnessed two of the scariest looking dudes I'd ever laid eyes on. They were wearing fairly ratty clothing and one resembled a street thug while the other bore an uncanny resemblance to unabomber Ted Kaczynski. My colleague, who I'll simply refer to as Scott, noticed that the thugly looking gentleman was holding a caulking gun. The mere sight of this caulking gun indicated to Scott that these two potential vagrants must be authorized. I mean, they had a caulking gun for heaven's sake. Nobody would be carrying a caulking gun if they didn't intend to use it, right?

Scott held the door open for these two and when they told him they were there to seal a window, they were simply let in to go about their business. They were able to roam freely amongst highly confidential information and expensive hardware. No security passes were necessary because they had a $10 caulking gun. The lesson here is that if you're carrying a caulking gun, you can be granted access to pretty much anywhere. Fort Knox, the Pentagon, backstage at the MTV Video Music Awards...bring along a caulking gun and you're in like flint.

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Guest Blog Entry

Guest Blog SubmissionAnyone is welcome to submit a Guest Blog Entry to I received the following submission earlier today.

Gum in packs of Hockey Cards

Why isn't there gum in packs of hockey cards? As a kid I always looked forward to chewing that pink strip of cardboard-like substance dusted with mysterious white powder while I searched for my hockey heroes. We'd chew on that gum till our jaws ached while negotiating trades at recess (Got em, need em, got em ...) and "flipping" cards up against the school walls to see who'd win 'em all (Hey ... that's just a "tipsy" ... no fair!).

Today's hockey cards are vacuum-sealed into packs that can only be opened by those with a PHD and handled with surgical gloves for immediate internment into a plastic sleeve and cases. Priced out of reach for most kids, the hobby has been taken over by adults.

I miss the gum ...

     Tim Legere

Tim, I too miss the gum. I have fond memories of my old man bringing me home packs of trading cards, only they were baseball cards instead of hockey cards. My brothers and I had bags full of cards from O-Pee-Chee...I still have my Dave Collins #10 from '83 somewhere. After opening a new pack, nothing tasted better than that stick of cardboard they tried to pass off as gum.

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The Dead Pool

The Dead PoolDeath is the great leveller. No matter how rich and powerful you are in life, you will inevitably die. You will die just like the beggar on the street, the criminal in prison or the lady who put too much sugar in your French Roast Starbucks coffee this morning. Everyone dies.

I take a great deal of pride in knowing which celebrities are dead and which are alive. I have somewhat of a morbid fascination with the subject. I've been maintaining a list of celebrities who have bought the farm since September 2000 as part of my Dead Pool page. The Dead Pool itself is an ongoing contest between my brothers and I in which we attempted to predict who would die sooner rather than later. I sincerely believe this Dead Pool is keeping certain famous people alive.

When a celebrity passes at an old age, it's not exactly shocking. Bob Hope and Katherine Hepburn are good examples of this. They were beloved, but their time had come. Other times it is an untimely death, but it doesn't hit home with me personally because of my feelings towards the deceased. Aaliyah and John Ritter went too soon, but I didn't pray at the alter of either. Then, there's the celebrity death that truly effects me. Since September 2000, this short list consists of George Harrison, Layne Staley, Roger Neilson and Johnny Cash. All four deaths were predictable, but each person had touched me on a personal level making their loss that much more painful. They are missed.

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The Problem With Dubya

The problem with DubyaI'm not a fan of George Dubya Bush. I still can't believe he squeaked by Al "The Bore" Gore in 2000. His politics drive me crazy. As Governor of Texas, he presided over more executions than took place in the other 49 states combined during the same time period. I'm fundamentally opposed to capital punishment. Bush is allied with the bigoted extreme right who want to deny equal rights to homosexuals. I believe in equal rights for all humans, regardless of sexual preference. He refuses to sign the Kyoto Protocol agreement on global warming. Canada and 177 other countries did. Bush's record with the environment is abysmal. When Bill Clinton left office, there was a surplus of $235 billion. Since Bush took over, the surplus has been depleted and his administration's 2003 budget reflects a $400 billion federal deficit. Bush has no respect for the United Nations. I'm a fan of the UN. It's a democratic forum through which governments can debate issues, resolve crises and work our their problems. When Bush couldn't secure the necessary votes on the Security Council, he subverted the process and invaded Iraq regardless. There are hundreds of reasons why I dislike America's current President. I simply don't have time to document them all, but you get the picture.

In a recent interview with Fox TV anchor Brit Hume, Bush was asked how he gets his news. His answer frightens me. George W. Bush, President of the United States of America, gets his news from chief of staff Andrew Card and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice. He doesn't watch the news on television, read newspapers or read the news online. Bush's exact quote was "the best way to get the news is from objective sources. And the most objective sources I have are people on my staff who tell me what's happening in the world."

Yikes. Does he really think his staff will be objective? Sure, the media is biased, so that's why it's important he get his news from several different sources. Card and Rice are two sources with a vested interest in telling the President exactly what he wants to hear. For all we know, Bush is under the impression the war in Iraq is very popular. Maybe he thinks his popularity is peaking and that Americans are happy with his performance.

It's vital that the American President be aware of world news. It's integral that this news be unbiased and unfiltered. True objectivity will never come from one's staff. Dubya is either naive or stupid. I suspect he's both.

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My Link of the Day

Mike's FavouritesiPod's Dirty Secret - Have you seen the ads forApple's iPod yet? The iPod is a rather cool portable digital music player. The 10GB version retails for about $439 Canadian. Pretty darn slick...except for iPod's dirty secret. The Neistat Brothers explain all.

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Calling India

Losin' Call CentresA number of large corporations are opening call centres in India. This is big business for the world's second most populated country. More and more multinationals are closing call centres in North America and replacing them with lower paid Indian employees. Dell has over 2,000 people working at its customer support centres in Bangalore and Hyderabad alone. I don't think Bangalore and Hyderabad are Texas suburbs.

I understand free-market capitalism and all that jazz, but moving mass quantities of call centre jobs to another continent really irks me. A call centre position is one of the few jobs a student or person without a degree can secure that makes a half-decent dollar without breaking your back or getting really, really dirty. You get to work in a nice clean office in a cubicle of your very own with a computer. You learn valuable computer basics, how to multi-task and problem solving skills and not just when to flip the hamburger and how to clean the shake machine. With many call centres becoming 24 hour operations, there is shift work which enables students to work their way through school and parents to parent when such duties conflict with the 9 to 5 jive. It would be tragic to see these positions leave en masse to another country simply because their wages are less. I'd prefer the strange accent on the other line belong to Pierre in Quebec or Joey in Nova Scotia.

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Guest Blog Entry

Guest Blog SubmissionAnyone is welcome to submit a Guest Blog Entry to I received the following submission earlier today.

After reading several articles on the Anaheim signing of Kelvim Escobar, I am astonished by how much great press this guy receives. Is this the same pitcher who allowed 121 hits in 98 innings on artificial turf, with a 5.51 ERA? Is it just me or are these numbers below average!! I personally witnessed Escobar pitch this summer and I think even I could have hit those beach balls. Escobar, like most of the other Jays, seems to put up numbers when nothing matters. I wanted to see Escobar step up and prove his "Clemens-like" stuff when the Jays were making a move in the standings. Instead, I witnessed inconsistent pitching from a man who, in this old-timers opinion, isn't worth the nearly $7 million a season he has been given. I was still debating the $5 million "low-ball" offer. Unless Escobar performs the Loaiza special, I have a feeling Anaheim fans will share some of my headaches. So, good riddance Escobar. You will not be missed by this frustrated Jays fan.


Steve, I agree with you 100%. I was sitting beside you at SkyDome when you watched Kelvim Escobar serve up those fat pitches to hungry Yankee batters. It's been a while since a free agent was as overrated as this. I'll go into 2004 with Ted Lilly and Pat Hentgen over Escobar any time.

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Getting Whipped by Mom

Losin' to mommyLike many North Americans, I participate in a weekly football pool. There are 33 of us in this particular pool and we each pick winners against the spread to determine a weekly winner and an overall winner at the end of the NFL season.

Among the 32 other poolies are my two brothers and mother. I'm having a rough year. I've been close a few weeks, but I haven't been able to close the deal. I blame the parity in today's game. With these spreads and utter unpredictability, you may as well flip a coin. It's tough out there.

What's especially embarrassing for me is that my mom is kicking ass. She won 13 games this past weekend to win her second week in a row. I don't mind losing this football pool week after week after week, but when you're losing to your own mother, it's time to give back the testosterone.

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Maple Leafs 2, Canucks 1

Go Leafs Go!I'm confused. Are the Leafs having a bad season or not? Just when you think it's time to call in the coroner they sweep a home-and-home series against the Western Conference leading Vancouver Canucks. Whodathunkit?

It was Eddie Belfour's 408th career victory moving him past Glenn Hall into fifth place all time. He's only 15 shy of Tony Esposito for fourth place overall.

Current Record  Last Game Season Leaders
25 points
2-1 Win vs. Vancouver M. Sundin - 20
A. Mogilny - 12
O. Nolan - 12

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500 Greatest Albums of All Time

Top 500 albums of all timeRolling Stone magazine has just listed what they consider to be the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Lets take a close look specifically at their top 100, shall we?

Rolling Stone likes The Beatles. The four mop-tops from England account for eight albums in the top 100, including four of the top ten. John Lennon on his own accounts for another couple. Canadian content is well represented with Joni Mitchell coming in at #30, The Band at #34 and #45 and Neil Young at #71 and #78. As for albums from artists in my personal top 10, you'll find Nirvana at #17, Public Enemy at #48 and Guns n' Roses at #61.

Here are Rolling Stone's top 100: 1. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - The Beatles, 2. Pet Sounds - The Beach Boys, 3. Revolver - The Beatles, 4. Highway 61 Revisited - Bob Dylan, 5. Rubber Soul - The Beatles, 6. What's Going On - Marvin Gaye, 7. Exile on Main Street - The Rolling Stones, 8. London Calling - The Clash, 9. Blonde on Blonde - Bob Dylan, 10. The Beatles ("The White Album") - The Beatles, 11. The Sun Sessions - Elvis Presley, 12. Kind of Blue - Miles Davis, 13. Velvet Underground and Nico - The Velvet Underground, 14. Abbey Road - The Beatles, 15. Are You Experienced? - The Jimi Hendrix Experience, 16. Blood on the Tracks - Bob Dylan, 17. Nevermind - Nirvana, 18. Born to Run - Bruce Springsteen, 19. Astral Weeks - Van Morrison, 20. Thriller - Michael Jackson, 21. The Great Twenty-Eight - Chuck Berry, 22. Plastic Ono Band - John Lennon, 23. Innervisions - Stevie Wonder, 24. Live at the Apollo (1963) - James Brown, 25. Rumours - Fleetwood Mac, 26. The Joshua Tree - U2, 27. King of the Delta Blues Singers, Vol. 1 - Robert Johnson, 28. Who's Next - The Who, 29. Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin, 30. Blue - Joni Mitchell, 31. Bringing It All Back Home - Bob Dylan, 32. Let It Bleed - The Rolling Stones, 33. Ramones - Ramones, 34. Music From Big Pink - The Band, 35. The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars - David Bowie, 36. Tapestry - Carole King, 37. Hotel California - The Eagles, 38. The Anthology, 1947 - 1972 - Muddy Waters, 39. Please Please Me - The Beatles, 40. Forever Changes - Love, 41. Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols - The Sex Pistols - 42. The Doors - The Doors, 43. The Dark Side of the Moon - Pink Floyd, 44. Horses - Patti Smith, 45. The Band - The Band, 46. Legend - Bob Marley and the Wailers, 47. A Love Supreme - John Coltrane, 48. It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back - Public Enemy, 49. At Fillmore East - The Allman Brothers Band, 50. Here's Little Richard - Little Richard, 51. Bridge Over Troubled Waters - Simon and Garfunkel, 52. Greatest Hits - Al Green, 53. The Birth of Soul: The Complete Atlantic Rhythm and Blues Recordings, 1952 - 1959 - Ray Charles, 54. Electric Ladyland - The Jimi Hendrix Experience, 55. Elvis Presley - Elvis Presley, 56. Songs in the Key of Life - Stevie Wonder, 57. Beggars Banquet - The Rolling Stones, 58. Trout Mask Replica - Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band, 59. Meet the Beatles - The Beatles, 60. Greatest Hits - Sly and the Family Stone, 61. Appetite for Destruction - Guns n' Roses, 62. Achtung Baby - U2, 63. Sticky Fingers - The Rolling Stones, 64. Phil Spector, Back to Mono (1958 - 1969) - Various Artists, 65. Moondance - Van Morrison, 66. Led Zeppelin IV - Led Zeppelin, 67. The Stranger - Billy Joel, 68. Off the Wall - Michael Jackson, 69. Superfly - Curtis Mayfield, 70. Physical Graffiti - Led Zeppelin, 71. After the Gold Rush - Neil Young, 72. Purple Rain - Prince, 73. Back in Black - AC/DC, 74. Otis Blue - Otis Redding, 75. Led Zeppelin II - Led Zeppelin, 76. Imagine - John Lennon, 77. The Clash - The Clash, 78. Harvest - Neil Young, 79. Star Time - James Brown, 80. Odessey and Oracle - The Zombies, 81. Graceland - Paul Simon, 82. Axis: Bold as Love - The Jimi Hendrix Experience, 83. I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You - Aretha Franklin, 84. Lady Soul - Aretha Franklin, 85. Born in the U.S.A. - Bruce Springsteen, 86. Let It Be - The Beatles, 87. The Wall - Pink Floyd, 88. At Folsom Prison - Johnny Cash, 89. Dusty in Memphis - Dusty Springfield, 90. Talking Book - Stevie Wonder, 91. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road - Elton John, 92. 20 Golden Greats - Buddy Holly, 93. Sign 'o' the Times - Prince, 94. Bitches Brew - Miles Davis, 95. Green River - Creedence Clearwater Revival, 96. Tommy - The Who, 97. The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan - Bob Dylan, 98. This Year's Model - Elvis Costello, 99. There's a Riot Goin' On - Sly and the Family Stone, 100. In the Wee Small Hours - Frank Sinatra

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Makin' ChangesApparently, if a page is not part of the navigation menu on the left, it doesn't get visited. Nobody visits the Sitemap to learn that other pages exist. Out of sight, out of mind I suppose.

As a result, I just added a couple of pages to the navigation menu. You'll now find links for Guest Blog and HyperLists. I launched Guest Blog about a week ago while my HyperLists page has been around since I first launched over four years ago. Guest Blog is a submission form where anyone can write anything and have it posted here. HyperLists is where I maintain my Top 10/5 lists with hyperlinks to a quality site on the subject.

I also eliminated the "Valid XHTML 1.0" reference on each page because I felt it was too geeky. I've buried that link in Links where it belongs.

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Bills 14, Colts 17

Go Bills Go!Now I'm ticked. Sure, I realized making the playoffs was virtually out of the question going into todays game, but your mind plays tricks on you. You start thinking of what might be if the Bills run the gamut and win their last six games. You almost start to believe the impossible is possible. Then, with less than two minutes remaining, your team is up by four. You're holding a great offense to ten points while scoring your first touchdown in four games. You're going to do this. You're going to win.

Then, Edgerrin James plunges into the endzone with 1:38 remaining and you've lost four straight and have absolutely no shot at the post-season. Boy am I ticked.

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Mike's Wish List

Mike's Wish ListChristmas Gifts I Would Enjoy

  1. Pearl Jam - Lost Dogs: Rarities and B Sides
  2. The Simpsons and Philosophy: The D'oh! of Homer by William Irwin
  3. Kurt Cobain's "Journals" (paperback edition)
  4. Mach III razor refills
  5. Black Dockers Classic fit pants
  6. Movie Gift Certificate so I can see Kill Bill Volume 2
  7. A completely healed ACL

Expensive Christmas Gifts I Would Enjoy (but don't expect)

  1. Digital Zoom Camera
  2. MP3/CD car stereo
  3. 42" XBR Plasma WEGA High Definition Television

Typical Christmas Gifts I Get, but really don't need

  1. DVDs
  2. CDs (unless they're blank)
  3. Coal

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Maple Leafs 5, Canucks 3

Go Leafs Go!The Leafs showed more energy in the first two minutes of last nights game than they had during the entire roadtrip. They started well and finished well to grab two points against a very good team. Phew!

There's something I've wanted to write for a while but haven't for fear it's a sign the apocalypse is upon us. Robert Reichel has been one of the most consistent Leafs this season. He played another strong game last night, scoring a goal and an assist and having several other chances. I've been on Reichel's case since he arrived in Toronto but this season he's playing with renewed intensity. In fact, he's currently tied for second in points with Alexander Mogilny and Owen Nolan. Now we'll see if he pulls another disappearing act in April.

Current Record  Last Game Season Leaders
23 points
5-3 Win vs. Vancouver M. Sundin - 18
A. Mogilny - 12
O. Nolan - 12

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To Curse or not to Curse

Bad WordsPeople between the ages of 18 and 34 don't read newspapers with the same frequency as previous generations. I wrote about this very fact in a previous blog entry. The majority of daily newspaper readers are over the age of 50 and do so out of habit. How can newspapers get the 18 - 34 demographic to return? Eric Celeste who writes for the Dallas Observer has the answer. You must be willing to print the word "f*ck."

Celeste argues that young people want the world as they see it: without filters. To present our world in this fashion requires the use of the word "f*ck" because it's a word used by young people when discussing party politics, religion, love, war and peace. If newspapers want to be part of this world, they have to print it.

This got me to thinking about those few words society still sees as profane. I make a conscious effort to avoid these words on this site. When I do refer to them (as I do in this entry), I use an asterisk in place of a letter as if that somehow sanitizes it. I'm not sure why I do this. When my brain sends the content to my fingers so they can stroke the necessary keys on my keyboard, there are usually curse words sprinkled here and there. At some point I filter these out and try to write as if young children and easily offended elderly people are viewing Should I remove the filter and write raw? I often think I should, then I envision myself blocking my own site from James when he starts using the computer in a few years. That's when I refer to all the crap on television instead of all the horse sh*t.

I have successfully eliminated my use of curse words around James as well. Doing so was easier than I thought it would be. I'll share my patented method with you in case you want to try it yourself. I simply overwrote the swear in my psyche so when I'm apt to swear I still do, it's simply a form that society is far more comfortable with. Instead of saying that nastiest of nasty words "motherf*cker", I now say "mofo". "Sh*t" used to be a favourite word of mine, now it's the Irish translation "shite". If I feel a "f*ck" coming on, it comes out "fudge". Once I replaced one with the other, making the transition was a fudging snap.

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My Quote of the Week

Mike's Quote of the Week"I was sad because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet. So I said, 'Got any shoes you're not using?'"
      - Steven Wright

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Taryn's Musical Tastes

Taryn's Musical TastesTaryn's musical tastes are changing. This hasn't happened overnight, but gradually over the past few years.

When we first met, we listened to the same CDs together, over and over and over again. The Offspring's Smash, Greenday's Dookie, The Smashing Pumpkin's Siamese Dream and Pearl Jam's Ten were a few of our mutual favourites.

Now, it's not uncommon for me to start the car after she's used it and hear Rod Stewart or The Dixie Chicks blasting through the speakers. I can't hit the stop button fast enough. I sometimes wonder if our car had been stolen and taken for a joy ride by a rowdy gang of geriatrics. What's happened to the girl I married? Our musical tastes have never been so different.

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The Friday Five

Friday FiveMy Favourite Sloan Songs

  1. Underwhelmed
  2. The Good in Everyone
  3. Money City Maniacs
  4. The Lines You Amend
  5. 500 Up

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Maple Leafs 2, Oilers 3

Go Leafs Go!Lets see... There's an article in the Toronto Sun that claims the Leafs have lost belief in Pat Quinn, an article in the National Post claims the Leafs' coach lacks direction and the proverbial dismissal of the entire story by Quinn is in The Toronto Star. Where there's smoke, there's often fire. Perhaps it's time to part ways with our coach for the past 5 years. Every coach has an expiration date and we're probably well past it. If Quinn is shown the door, this fan won't shed a tear.

Current Record  Last Game Season Leaders
21 points
3-2 Loss vs. Edmonton M. Sundin - 16
A. Mogilny - 12
O. Nolan - 10

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The Simpsons

The SimpsonsJames is a huge fan of The Simpsons. When he sees the clouds parting in the beginning of the opening credits he smiles and excitedly chirps "Homer, doh! Homer, doh!". I'm fairly certain the writers for The Simpsons don't have the toddler audience in mind when they're hacking away at their keyboards, but it's the one show James will watch in its entirety without boredom setting in. Although impossible (I think), it's almost as if he comprehends the subject material.

I suppose I'm to blame for this obsession. Since his birth he has been a witness to the joy this show brings me. By the time he was six months old I figure he had witnessed a solid 200 hours of Homer and the gang from Springfield. This, combined with the fact it is a cartoon, probably made his interest in the show inevitable.

Some would suggest I'm poisoning the boy by allowing him to watch a show centered around an overweight buffoon who is frequently found getting loaded in the local bar while his son causes mischief and mayhem. I've always believed that watching The Simpsons instills the exact values that make someone a healthy, well rounded adult. I see The Simpsons as the most moral show on television that teaches its viewers true life lessons. A recent article in the National Post agrees with me. Robert Thompson, director of the Center for the Study of Popular Television at Syracuse University, is quoted as stating parents should be thankful their kids are drawn to The Simpsons. He even sees it as a "cause for some celebration". Finally, some validation. I may very well be father of the year.

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My Link of the Day

Mike's FavouritesBRS Web-Radio > Rock - This is an awesome portal to Rock radio stations you can listen to on the web. Click and listen to a rock station in Australia, Argentina, Arkansas or Alberta. You can also go here and search by call letters, country or format.

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Family Guy Reunion

Family Guy ReunionThere's a lot of crap on television these days. If you take away sports, there's almost nothing I enjoy watching. Sure, there's still The Simpsons on Sunday nights and one of the three Law and Order's when I have nothing better to do, but other than that and the odd A&E show, I've got nothing until the new seasons of The Sopranos, Six Feet Under and Curb Your Enthusiasm. Seriously, I can't stomach anything else.

One show I did enjoy before it was cancelled was The Family Guy. It wasn't as subtle as The Simpsons, but it was always chock full of clever pop culture references and ludacris cut-aways. It was one of the funnier shows in a sea of crappy sit-coms.

Great news! Reports indicate 20th Century Fox is considering raising The Family Guy from the dead. Apparently, as many as 35 new episodes could return in January of 2005. Praise the Lord. As Stewie Griffin once said, "Yes, I rather like this God fellow. He's very theatrical, you know, a pestilence here, a plague there. Omnipotence. Gotta get me some of that."

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Maple Leafs 2, Flames 3

Go Leafs Go!Another late night, another single point. I'm getting used to the routine. I feel as sluggish as the Maple Leafs have played during this Western road trip.

We were very lucky to escape Calgary with a point. The boxscore tells the story. Three first period shots, six in the second period, just eight in the third and none in overtime. Take our dismal offense and add some terrible defense and mix with some poor coaching and you typically incur a loss. Ed Belfour prevented that outcome with some spectacular play in the final five minutes.

Current Record  Last Game Season Leaders
21 points
3-2 OT Loss vs. Calgary M. Sundin - 15
A. Mogilny - 12
O. Nolan - 10

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Google and Me

Google!It's the ultimate goal for everyone to be the first search result when someone Googles their name. In this big, bad world of six billion people, being number one with Google is a feat to be proud of. For months I was the third result when serching for "Mike Boon", trailing a Pinball software programmer who had grabbed the first two spots. Searches for the less common "Boon Mike", however, had me at number one.

Now I'm a proud numero uno when someone throws my name into Google. Go ahead and search for "Mike Boon" in Google, I dare you. The pinball Mike Boon is eating my dust.

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My Link of the Day

Mike's FavouritesMark Gowan Bio Page - You haven't heard of Mark Gowan, goaltender for the Wichita Thunder? I've been hearing about him for the better part of three decades. Then again, he is my cousin. Mark's pro career has taken him to Wichita by way of Colorado, Knoxville and Fresno. This proves that every Canadian family has at least one professional hockey player within its ranks.

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Jean Chrétien

Two Leaders No MoreJean Chrétien has chosen to do the right thing. Perhaps my entry of October 14th had something to do with his decision to retire on December 12th, clearing the way for Paul Martin, the newly anointed Liberal leader.

Chrétien had threatened to stay on until February, creating a constitutional crisis for Canada with two men having a rightful claim of leadership. One Prime Minister is plenty, thank you very much.

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Get Your Flu Shots

Flu ShotThe U.S. Centers for Disease Control is urging Americans to get a flu vaccination in a news release this morning. An earlier-than-usual influenza outbreak could foreshadow a severe flu season, they say.

Here in Ontario, we have an aggressive campaign to get everyone to get their flu shot. This service is completely free to all residents of Ontario and a number of convenient clinics are held throughout the province. Taryn's work even held their own clinic so she could get her shot without hassle while James and I got ours at a local walk-in clinic.

If you could avoid getting the flu, wouldn't you? Getting a flu vaccination makes good sense, right? You'd be surprised at the conspiracy theories I heard when talking with coworkers. Some think it's a cash-grab for the pharmaceutical industry. Others think it will leave them defenseless when the "super flu" arrives. Some even think the contents of the vaccination aren't to be trusted and that it could cause the flu or even worse. Someone even claimed their friend told her it contained radiator coolant. I've heard it all.

If you believe in such conspiracies, then you believe that every single medical doctor in the country is in on the deal. I challenge you to find one doctor who will tell you the flu vaccination is a bad idea. You won't because it isn't. Get a damn flu shot. This isn't The X Files.

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STP RIPOne of my favourite bands has officially called it quits. The Stone Temple Pilots have decided to split and move on.

As a guy who believes music peaked in the early 90s, I was an instant fan of STP. Core had Plush, Sex Type Thing, Wicked Garden and Creep. Purple brought me Vasoline, Interstate Love Song, Big Empty and Unglued. These sounds found a home bouncing around my cranium as a teenager. I saw STP open for the Red Hot Chili Peppers a few years back and they killed. When Scott Weiland is on, there are few better.

Yet another band I grew up loving is finished. Nirvana dissolved when Kurt ate that bullet in '94, Alice in Chains' last hoorah was in '96, Soundgarden disbanded in '97 and now STP has said farewell with the release of their greatest hits package "Thank You". Only Pearl Jam, it seems, is in it for the long haul. For this I am eternally grateful.

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Dolla Bill?

Dolla Bill?Blink-182 are bringing their Dolla Bill tour to The Phoenix on December 2nd. Tickets went rather quickly because all tickets cost a mere dollar bill, get it?

Frankly, I am appalled. Blink-182 has shown a distinct lack of cultural sensitivity with this Dolla Bill tour. We Canadians are being treated like second class citizens, once again being force-fed a dollap of disrespect. This is discrimination of the worst kind and I am displeased. Blink-182 knows full well we don't have a dollar bill.

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New Pictures

New PicturesFive new pictures of James are now posted in Pictures.

James is now stringing together two word phrases. When thirsty, he'll request "apple juice". When finished eating, he'll exclaim "want out!". He's also counting to ten, although he sometimes forgets five and seven. Ask him what sound a cow makes, and he'll give you an enthusiastic "Mooooooooo!". We expect a call from Mensa any day now.

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Bills 10, Texans 12

Go Bills Go!The Bills and Raptors have a lot in common this season. Both teams are focused on defense and suffering on offense as a result. Two field goals and safeties are all the offense the Bills could muster this afternoon as they fell to 4-6 and will likely miss the playoffs. Look for Gregg Williams to get his walking papers during the off-season...if he makes it that long. A sure sign of this inevitablitly was the dreaded vote of confidence from team president Tom Donahoe.

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Write A Guest Blog

MegaphoneI'm going to start something new. I've created a Guest Blog Submission Page as part of this website. Should you have something you'd like to express to a mass audience, you can use as your forum.

It's easy like Sunday morning. Click here and rant, attack, bloviate, declare, decry, denounce, harangue, hold forth, inveigh, lecture, mouth, orate, perorate, proclaim, rail, recite, soapbox, speak, spiel, spout or talk big about anything you want. I'll post your guest blog entry and credit it to you. You have a voice and I want to hear it.

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My Link of the Day

Mike's FavouritesCFL vs. NFL - With the 91st Grey Cup final getting underway today at 17:30 EST, it's a good time to brush up on your CFL rules. This most likely isn't an issue on the prairies where the CFL continues to thrive, but here in Toronto there are a number of people unsure of the rule differences between the CFL and NFL. This site spells out the differences so you can impress your friends at today's Grey Cup party.

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Maple Leafs 2, Sharks 2

Go Leafs Go!The winless California adventure continued last night when the Leafs blew a two goal lead in the third period and had to settle for the tie in San Jose. A couple of nights ago the Leafs accomplished the reverse, overcoming a three goal lead in the final frame to tie. What goes around, comes around. Again, Alexander Mogilny was the best player on the ice. When Moginy plays at his best, there are few better in the league.

The Western road trip continues next week with games in Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. This is starting to remind me of Hard Core Logo.

Current Record  Last Game Season Leaders
20 points
2-2 Tie vs. San Jose M. Sundin - 14
A. Mogilny - 12
O. Nolan - 10

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Toronto Area Radio

Toronto RadioBack in July, I wrote an entry about my preferred Toronto area radio stations. My list of six at the time included Edge102, HTZ 97.7, WBUF 92.9, Q107, 680News and The Fan 590. There are three more I'd like to add.

Y108 - I don't know how I missed it, but at some point last year Hamilton's Best Rock began broadcasting from 107.9 on the FM dial. I discovered this new station only a month or two ago and I've quickly become a fan. Long time CFNY deejay and current host of the great radio program "The Ongoing History of New Music" Alan Cross is host of Y108's afternoons. It's great to hear him back on the air in the GTA. The music is a combination of modern rock tunes you'd hear on Edge102 and some butt rock you'd hear on HTZ 97.7. A typical three-pack might include Audioslave, The White Stripes and Guns N' Roses. It's pretty good stuff if you can pull it in. Their reception is fairly weak.

CBC RadioOne - I used to make fun of people who preferred this station to others considering them boring and old. I guess I now fall into that category as I've been enjoying this station quite a bit lately. It's a mixed bag of insightful interviews, current events and the odd tune or comedy bit thrown in for good measure. It's good radio.

Mojo Radio - Mojo has the broadcast rights for Maple Leaf games and therefore has my ear periodically. I used to stay away from their Leaf commentary because their bias was so prevalent, but the addition of Michael Landsberg in the mornings has balanced things out. Landsberg isn't afraid to bash Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment when they deserve it. He tells it straight up and that's how a true fan wants it. Also worth noting is the presence of Mike Stafford in the afternoons. Stafford has an encyclopedic knowledge of popular culture and The Simpsons in particular. You can't help but enjoy listening to someone who is that full of useless information. I'm envious of his talent.

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Happy Birthday Grandma!

Happy Birthday Grandma!I want to wish my Grandma Gibbons a very happy 88th birthday.

In the year of my Grandmother's birth the RMS Lusitania was sunk by a German U-boat killing 1,198 during World War I, Albert Einstein published his theory of general relativity and The Birth of a Nation by D.W. Griffith premiered.

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My Quote of the Week

Mike's Quote of the Week"I've had a wonderful time, but this wasn't it."
      - Groucho Marx

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Pearson Pissed

Pearson PissedThere's a site by the name of that posts pictures of urinals from around the world. Apparently, there's demand for this kind of detail. They've even been profiled in Maxim magazine.

A recent addition to this vast collection of urinals was those from our very own airport, Toronto Lester B. Pearson International Airport. Here's the pictures, if you're curious. Well, the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) didn't get the joke. They've sent an email threatening legal action against the site if they did not remove the name of our airport from

What the GTTA has failed to take into account is the ever growing power of the blogging community. An overreaction of this nature can spread through geekdom like sh*t through a goose. By now, I'm certain hundreds of people have grabbed the offending images from to post on their own blogs. Had the GTTA simply ignored this, few would have noticed and even less would have cared.

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The Friday Five

Friday FiveMy Favourite Al Pacino Movies

  1. The Godfather II
  2. The Godfather
  3. Scarface
  4. Heat
  5. The Devil's Advocate

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Maple Leafs 4, Kings 4

Go Leafs Go!The Leafs played two games last night. For two periods they were lambasted by the Kings and entered the third down 4-1. Suddenly, like a bat out of hell, the blue and white roared back with three goals to salvage a point in the city of angels.

If you're wondering why the Leafs and Raptors are both out west, you can blame the Liberal party who have been occupying the ACC for their farewell to King Jean. During his speech, the Prime Minister remarked "We have never been more confident. We have never been more proud. We have never been more united. We have never been more sure of who we are. We have never been more eager, more prepared to take on the world." Clearly he was talking about next year's World Cup of Hockey. Go Canada Go!

Current Record  Last Game Season Leaders
19 points
4-4 Tie vs. Los Angeles M. Sundin - 12
O. Nolan - 10
A. Mogilny - 10

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HoneymoonA belated congratulations to my friend Mark Carey and his lovely new bride Michelle. They're leaving tomorrow for their honeymoon which will take them to Egypt by way of New York. He's going to blog about his adventures on his Egypt Travel Weblog.

This reminds me of my honeymoon almost eight years ago. I believe we visited the Uptown Theatre for a matinee. I think we even splurged for popcorn if I'm not mistaken. Memories...

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Digital Milestone

Mike's FavouritesIt's happened. For the very first time ever, the top title on Billboard's Hot Digital Tracks chart has outsold the No. 1 commercial single on Billboard's Hot 100 Singles Sales tally. In other words, the #1 downloaded single has outsold the #1 offline single. The most excellent funky sounds of Outkast accomplished the feat with Andre 3000's "Hey Ya!". "Hey Ya!" leads the digital list with 8,000 downloads in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan, while MercyMe's "I Can Only Imagine" sold 7,000 copies to top Billboard's Hot 100 Singles Sales chart.

My vision of the future of music distribution is now being realized. This process is only in its infancy, but once mature will become the primary option for music lovers. Of course, if the record industry hadn't taken such an ludacris amount of time before trekking in this direction, we'd be there by now. Did they think this Internet thing was merely a fad?

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Maple Leafs 1, Mighty Ducks 5

Go Leafs Go!Back in high school, I bought Led Zeppelin IV for "Black Dog", "Rock And Roll" and "Stairway to Heaven", but I stayed for the melodic tones of "Going to California". Going to California didn't fare well for the Leafs last night. Lets hope things improve tonight in L.A.

As Sports Illustrated celebrates their 50th anniversary, they can boast about having printed 2,548 covers. Of the 2,548 covers, not a single one involves the blue and white. You'd think a Maple Leaf would make appear on the cover once by accident. It's not an anti-Toronto thing. The Raptors have appeared on a couple of covers, the Blue Jays have been featured seven times and George Chuvalo has made three. I find it unbelievable that one of the most beloved and prestigious franchises in NHL history can be completely ignored by SI in this manner. Over the past 50 years, the Leafs have won four Stanley Cups. This completely dispells the theory of the Sports Illustrated Jinx. No covers and still a 37 year drought!

Current Record  Last Game Season Leaders
18 points
5-1 Loss vs. Anaheim M. Sundin - 10
B. McCabe - 9
A. Mogilny - 9

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My Link of the Day

Mike's FavouritesGroup Hug - One of the perks of Catholicism is confession. We can do pretty much anything, go to confession and be absolved of our sins. This website takes this Catholic institution and shares it with the masses. The idea is for anyone to anonymously confess to anything. Go ahead and try it. Trust me, you'll feel better.

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Tupac Shakur

Tupac ShakurTupac Shakur is the hardest working man in show business. The man has been prolific, releasing nine albums over the past seven years and starring in the major motion picture "Tupac: Resurrection" which is being released this week. This is an impressive resume for a man who was gunned down and killed in Las Vegas in 1996.

More Tupac albums have been released since his death than were released while he was alive. He raked in $12 million from June 2002 to June 2003. "Rap Phenomenon," an unauthorized mix tape of Shakur's work, was extremely popular amongst hip-hop fans this fall. He has a hit song, "Running (Dying to Live)," produced by Eminem, on the radio. The man is the busiest dead man of all time.

I've always been a fan, ever since he guest rapped his way onto "Same Song" from Digital Underground back in '90. I have a Tupac folder on my PC with my favourite Tupac tunes I play on a regular basis. I hope the 7 Day Theory proves to be true. Tupac go ahead rock.

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Red Sauce

Red SauceI love pasta. Spaghetti, rigatoni, penne rigate, rotini, it's all good. I have one rule though. My pasta must be covered with a tomato sauce. If the sauce ain't red, I ain't eatin' it.

I don't understand why anyone would want to have their pasta covered in a white sauce. It defies the laws of nature. Pasta doesn't want to be covered with alfredo sauce. I'm going red until I'm dead.

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Halladay Wins the Cy Young Award

JaysRoy Halladay has just won the American League Cy Young Award. As if there was any doubt, Halladay received 26 first-place votes and two seconds for 136 points in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

He finished 22-7 with a 3.25 ERA this year, winning 15 consecutive decisions from May 1 to July 27 and tying for the AL lead with nine complete games. This is the fourth Cy Young Award in Blue Jays history and he becomes the third Blue Jay to win one. Pat Hentgen and Roger Clemens are the others. In 2003 Halladay was awesome. Former Jay Esteban Loaiza never had a prayer.

I had the joy of watching a young Roy Halladay lose a no-hit bid with two down in the ninth at Skydome back in '98. Check out my ticket stub from the game in Ticket Stubs.

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Canada at War: Participation and Casualties

South Africa War (1899-1902) - Approximately 7,000 Canadians served; 267 of them gave their lives.

First World War (1914-1918) - Approximately 650,000 Canadians served, including members of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, Canadians and Newfoundlanders who served with British forces (Newfoundland was a colony of Great Britain until 1949) and merchant mariners. Of this number, nearly 69,000 gave their lives.

Second World War (1939-1945) - More than one million Canadians and Newfoundlanders served in Canada's armed forces, in Allied forces or in the merchant navy; over 47,000 of them gave their lives.

Korean War (1950-1953) - 26,791 Canadians served in the Canadian Army Special Force; 516 of them gave their lives.

Peacekeeping - Nearly 125,000 Canadians have served in peacekeeping missions over the past 53 years; as of October 2000, 113 Canadians had given their lives in this service.

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In Flanders Field

Lest We ForgetIn Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
      - John McCrae, In Flanders Fields

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Bills 6, Cowboys 10

Go Bills Go!Another snoozefest on the road for the Bills. It's now been a million years since they've scored a touchdown away from Ralph Wilson Stadium. At least we can be proud of the defense who played another spectacular game. Unfortunately, you need a little offense to actually win games.

I was flipping back and forth between this game and the CFL Eastern Conference final between the Toronto Argos and Montreal Alouettes, but ended up spending most of the afternoon with the Canadian game. It was damn exciting with the Argos almost pulling off the upset. In fact, if not for a blown call by the refs, the Argos would be Grey Cup bound. Alouette quarterback Anthony Calvillo ran the ball into the endzone to take the lead late in the fourth quarter but was stripped of the ball millimeters before breaking the plane. It was incorrectly ruled a touchdown and the rest is history. On this day, the CFL was a hundred times more exciting than the NFL.

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David Miller For Mayor

CN TowerWe Torontonians vote in our municipal election tomorrow. Just in case this fact slipped my mind, a nice lady from the David Miller camp just called to let me know the polls will be busy so I should get there as early as possible. I told her I planned to vote three or four times for Miller to which she just chuckled and said they'd be happy with the single vote.

I've watched the main candidates debate for weeks and weeks now. After much thought and deliberation, I'm casting my vote for Miller. John Tory has a fine resume and is a more than competent manager but he lacks the integrity of Miller. He seems a little too smooth in a similar vein to former Premier Ernie Eves. Miller is a former Bay street lawyer, so he's got that area covered, but he also has a genuine vision for our city and seems to be a rather trustworthy soul. Most important of all, I believe Miller will be best able to work with city council while working with the Provincial and Federal governments. As Mayor of Toronto, your actual power is rather limited considering the $6.4 billion operating budget and importance to the nation's economy. This $6.4 billion operating budget is larger than many provinces and Toronto's economy accounts for 20% of Canada's economy. Toronto is the life blood of Canada. It's time for a new deal and Paul Martin agrees.

As the economic capital of Canada, Toronto is in need of strong leadership. Folowing six years of Mel Lastman's goofball reign either Miller or Tory will be a welcome relief. I'm looking forward to having a leader who won't embarass our great city on the international scene. With David Miller as Mayor, we'll have peace of mind knowing an intelligent person with a worthwhile vision is doing his very best for the greatest city on the planet.

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My Link of the Day

Mike's FavouritesToday's Front Pages - Updated every morning by 09:30, this website posts the front pages of 209 newspapers from 27 countries. The best part is they're presented alphabetically so you can see ten of Canada's most popular newspapers on the first page. Not only can you see the entire front page but you can download a PDF for closer viewing. Very cool stuff.

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A Comic Legend?

Question MarkFollowing tonight's Leaf game I turned on my Freeplay Ranger to listen to the post-game call in show on Mojo Radio. One of the advertisements I heard was a big voice pronouncing the exciting fact "Comedy legend Louie Anderson is coming to Casino Rama". Excuse me? Louie Anderson is now being referred to as a comedy legend?!?! Legend as an adjective is being serious devalued with such statements. Sure, the man delighted us all as the corner square on Hollywood Squares and we loved him as host of Family Feud but he's certainly not a comedy legend. Milton Berle was a comedy legend. Groucho Marx was a comedy legend. Bob Hope was a comedy legend. Louie Anderson is not a comedy legend.

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Maple Leafs 4, Oilers 1

Go Leafs Go!I have always enjoyed watching my Leafs take on the Oilers. This dates back to the bleak 80s when the hottest ticket in town was always when the all-star Oilers visited Maple Leaf Gardens and the bottom feeder Maple Leafs. Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Jari Kurri, Paul Coffey, Glenn Anderson and Grant Fuhr never disappointed.

The Oilers are no longer a team of all-stars but they're still an exciting team to watch. On this night, they were simply no match for the blue and white. Alexander Mogilny led the way with two goals and an assist while Eddie was steady making 34 saves. With 50 seconds to play in the third, Mogilny showed why he's one of the classiest players in the league. Facing an empty net, his main concern was getting the puck to Matt Stajan to give the youngster the goal. There was an obvious look of disappointment on his face when his lead pass to Stajan went into the net for the Leaf's final goal of the night. Mogilny can play for my team anytime.

Current Record  Last Game Season Leaders
18 points
4-1 Win vs. Edmonton M. Sundin - 10
B. McCabe - 9
A. Mogilny - 9

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SLS Countdown

Smells Like SourThere's only about six weeks to go before we in the SLS commitee finalize the songlist for SLS10. For those of you who need an SLS refresher, click here and here.

To see songs that have been submitted for SLS10 consideration, or to submit one yourself, visit the official page. Bear in mind that anyone can suggest a song hence there are some fairly weak tunes listed. We'll weed out the weakies to come up with the best 80 minutes of tunage from the past six months. Below is a list of songs most likely to appear on SLS10. The official "release" date is Christmas 2003.

Queens of the Stone Age - You Think I Ain't Worth A Dollar, But I Feel Like A Millionaire
The White Stripes - The Hardest Button to Button
The Strokes - 12:51
The Distillers - Drain the Blood
The Salads - The Roth Kung Fu
Jet - Are You Gonna Be My Girl
Disturbed - Liberate
Godsmack - Straight Out Of Line
Audioslave - I Am The Highway
Outkast - Hey Ya
Linkin Park - Faint
Hot Hot Heat - No, Not Now
Finger Eleven - One Thing
Billy Talent - Try Honesty
Staind - So Far Away
Three Days Grace - Just Like You
Nickelback - Someday
P.O.D. - Will You

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The Boone DNA Project

The Boone DNA ProjectI was recently contacted by a fellow named Dan Boone regarding The Boone DNA Project. The goal of The Boone DNA Project is to build a database that will indicate what members of the Boon/e lines are related and possibly determine the approximate time they began to branch away. This is done via Y-line DNA testing. Y-DNA is passed from father to son only, from generation to generation with little or no change and can be used to prove or disprove lineage back to a most recent common ancestor, when compared to another "paper genealogy cousin".

As a male Boon, they want to analyze my DNA to add the findings to their chart. As Dan wrote during our correspondence, "The Boon/e line did own property in Ireland as well as England. Their was a Boon/e son that we have not traced yet. We think his name was John and born about 1836. The loyalist from the New York area also moved to Canada . Does any of this sound familar? The project is trying to fill the gap from about 1400 to 1700 when records did get kept very well."

As cool as The Boone DNA Project sounds, and as intrigued as I am by Y-line DNA testing, I doubt I'll participate because of the $99 fee associated with the DNA test. Since The Boone DNA Project and DNA testing company are in the USA, you know they're going to want 99 greenbacks instead of my funny money. If someone wants my DNA, they're going to have to pay for it.

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My Quote of the Week

Mike's Quote of the Week"There is a time for many words, and there is also a time for sleep."
      - Homer, The Odyssey

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Maple Leafs 1, Devils 1

Go Leafs Go!When you visit the swamp you're grateful when you escape with a point. A late goal on a nifty backhand by Gary Roberts gave Toronto a tie in a game they deserved to win. It was the first time this season the Leafs overcame a third period deficit.

Watching tonight's game reminded me of one of the great mysteries to come out of Leaf Land in recent years. In the 2001-2002 season, Corey Schwab backed up Curtis Joseph in Toronto. When Cujo went down with a broken hand, Schwab filled in admirably going 12-10 with a 2.74 goals against average. For reasons I still don't understand, the Leafs made no attempt to keep Schwab as a back up and signed Trevor Kidd during the off-season instead. Kidd for Schwab sounds like a wash to me in which case it makes more sense to keep the status quo. Schwab ended up in New Jersey backing up Martin Brodeur and tonight he was the difference in what should have been a third Leaf victory in a row.

Current Record  Last Game Season Leaders
16 points
1-1 Tie vs. New Jersey M. Sundin - 8
B. McCabe - 8
O. Nolan - 7

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Media Bias

Media Empires are badAs a general rule, I try to agree with Heritage Minister Sheila Copps as little as possible. Unfortunately, she made some comments yesterday that I whole heartedly agree with. In fact, I've been saying the same thing for years.

In response to the House of Commons heritage committee's report on Canadian broadcasting, Copps called for a review of cross-ownership in the media. In her words, "one owner in radio, television and newspapers, whether it be Canadian or international, doesn't really respect diversity of voices - I think as a society, we have a right to a diversity of voices." It's now common for large media companies to own numerous radio and television stations as well as newspapers. When a single agenda controls a multitude of media outlets, it presents a barrage of spin intended to manipulate and deprive us of our basic freedoms. There's no doubt the media is now and has always been biased, but with numerous outlets at a media empire's disposal, this bias can infiltrate the general will of the people at large. This is very dangerous.

There are many examples of corporations in Canada that own too large a portion of our nation's media (BCE, Inc., Rogers, etc.), but the one that particularly bothers me is CanWest Global Communications Corp. CanWest Global Communications Corp. owns the Global Television network and several independent television stations, seven specialty cable channels, the National Post and newspapers in most of the country's largest markets, at least one radio station in Canada, as well as a television production company and a string of other media properties including the Internet portal. This is the company that requires its newspapers to follow a common editorial line on key national and international issues. This policy alone threatens to undermine the defense of freedom of expression by media organizations. If you think this is wrong, Stephen Kimber would agree with you. Kimber wrote for the Halifax Daily News for fifteen years until he wrote an article that was critical of his parent company, CanWest Global. Editors at the paper refused to print the article and Kimber resigned. At least two colleagues writing about this situation had their columns pulled as well. There are many stories like this within the CanWest Global Empire. Doug Cuthand wrote an opinion piece comparing the treatment of Native Canadians and Palestinians for the Saskatoon StarPhoenix and could not get printed because CanWest Global supports Israel. With policy and precedent of this nature it's not unreasonable to assume journalists who work for this conglomerate self-censor themselves as a means of job security. In a sense, this is the very worst form of censorship and drapes the entire empire in a shroud of distrust. Without trust, a news source isn't worth the paper it's printed on, is it?

When you own 14 big-city dailies, one national newspaper, and 126 other dailies and weeklies - as well as a television network, radio stations, and Canada's third-most popular website, spreading your political views through these outlets doesn't only become unethical, it becomes criminal. Arm yourself through diversification and boycott news from CanWest Global Communication Corp.

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My Most Listened To CDs

Fave CDsI'm listening to Alice in Chains' Dirt while sitting at my pc awaiting the start of the Raptors game. I listen to the 13 tracks on this album rather frequently. In fact, I find myself returning to the same few albums over and over and over again.

Not counting albums from my ten favourite bands, here are the four CDs I most often listen to.

System of a Down - Toxicity: A friend of mine introduced me to this band and I'm forever grateful. Every cut on this disc accelerates my heart rate. Much like the next album on this list, it's loud and proud and not afraid to say something. "Chop Suey" is one of my favourite tunes of all time but I'm pretty nuts about all 14 cuts.

Rage Against the Machine - Rage Against the Machine: If you visit HyperLists to check out my ten favourite bands, you'll also see a list of my five favourite albums of all time. Rage Against the Machine is on that list. It's absolutely solid and fully loaded with moshing anthems. It's very heavy and very political and very addictive. "Killing in the Name" and "Bullet in the Head" are still my favourite tracks, but "Wake Up" and "Freedom" are hot on their tail.

Sublime - Sublime: Every ounce of this album is a trippy blend of rock, hip-hop, folk and funk. "What I Got" and "Santeria" may be the best tunes, but I'm as happy as sh*t getting lost in "Wrong Way", "April 29 1992" or "Pawn Shop". Lead vocalist and guitarist Bradley Nowell died of a heroin overdose at the age of 28 but what he left behind was all good.

The Beastie Boys - Check Your Head: This whole damn album is awesome. From the opening chords of "Jimmy James" through classics like "Pass the Mic" and "So What'cha Want" to the funkified "Professor Booty". A hidden gem is the hard n' heavy "Time For Livin".

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My Big Break?

EmailThe message below was submitted through my Contact Mike page earlier yesterday. I called the number and verified its legitimacy. I'm sure I was contacted because of my blog entry on the Star Wars kid. I turned this opportunity down on principle, and now fear I may have missed my big break.

Are you in Toronto?
I'm a producer with Toronto One looking for someone who believes Star Wars is their religion. We have a panel going tonight November 5th at 7 -- our show is Toronto Tonight on channel 15. Interested? Please call me

Cathy Kearney
Toronto One

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NutellaWhat's the deal with Nutella? When I was a kid, I was always envious of my classmates who would bring Nutella sandwiches for lunch. What could look better to an 8 year old than a chocolate sandwich? Nevertheless, Nutella was never part of my family's diet and to this day I've never had a taste.

When advertisements for Nutella come on the television, I watch with wonderment. The entire concept baffles me. Who's eating this illogical bread spread? What parent thinks this is a good lunch for their child? I don't get it at all.

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Maple Leafs 4, Penguins 2

Go Leafs Go!A Mario Lemieux-less Pittsburgh Penguins team isn't a very intimidating team to face at the ACC, and that's precisely why I feared the worst. The Maple Leafs have a tendency to play down to their opponents ability. Thankfully, the end result was a relatively easy victory for the Leafs despite facing an 18 year old phenom goalie in Marc-Andre Fleury whose clearly living up to his billing.

It's fitting the Leafs played a Gordie Howe style game with five fights and four goals on a night when Mark Messier was passing Mr. Hockey to move into second all-time in NHL scoring. Mark Messier is the only player left in the NHL whom I remember from the first winter I followed this glorious sport closely. Messier broke in with the 1979-80 Edmonton Oilers and to this date has amassed an amazing 1850 points.

Current Record  Last Game Season Leaders
15 points
4-2 Win vs. Pittsburgh M. Sundin - 7
O. Nolan - 7
B. McCabe - 7

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The Long Title

The Long TitleI can't say I've given Sinéad O’Conner much thought since her 1990 album "I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got". It was a pretty good CD at the time that spawned a monster hit with Prince's "Nothing Compares 2 U" and a minor follow up hit with "The Emperor's New Clothes". This was the full extent of my relationship with Sinéad O’Conner.

Now comes word that she's retiring from the music industry. She no longer wishes to be famous and hopes to achieve a "normal" life. It would be impossible for me to care less about this news, but I am rather intrigued by the title of her farewell album. "She Who Dwells in the Secret Place of the Most High Shall Abide Under the Shadow of the Almighty" may just be the longest name I've ever heard given to a CD. Can you think of a longer title? Are we to call it SWDITSPOTMHSAUTSOTA for short? Will it have a zippier nickname like "She Who Dwells" or "Long Title"? Does it matter?

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Maple Leafs 2, Hurricanes 1

Go Leafs Go!After scoring two early goals the Maple Leafs held on for an important two points on the road. This victory last night coupled with a big playoff win for the Argos salvaged what could have been a horrific sports weekend for Toronto.

Mikael Tellqvist played another great game but is expected to be sent to St. John's when Trever Kidd returns from a shoulder injury later this week. From a fan's perspective, I'd much rather keep Tellqvist as Eddie Belfour's backup in preparation for the day he assumes full time duties. He's clearly capable and youth will be served.

Current Record  Last Game Season Leaders
13 points
2-1 Win vs. Carolina M. Sundin - 7
J. Nieuwendyk - 6
K. Klee - 6

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New Videos

Video of JamesJames doesn't have a clue what Halloween is all about. He simply has no grasp of the concept of dressing up and going out for candy. The boy can't even say "Trick or Treat".

I can't tell you how many people were surprised we weren't taking him door-to-door this year. I know James, and I know taking him to the house of a complete stranger alongside ghosts, goblins and witches is the surest way to guarantee a lifetime of therapy. At twenty-one months of age, he's just too young for a holiday where the sole objective is to frighten people. Next year we can scare the bejeezus out of him.

Despite the fact James didn't go out for Halloween, he did dress up and you can see it in Videos.

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Kill Bill Kills

Kill BillIn a previous blog entry, I wrote about the positive reviews Kill Bill Volume 1 was getting and how much I enjoy Quentin Tarantino's movies. I can now vouch first hand that Kill Bill is indeed a spectacular flick.

I saw it yesterday and was blown away. Perhaps Geoff Pevere said it best in his review for the Toronto Star. "Quentin Tarantino soars above the movie landscape he altered in the 1990s...Not only is this the work of a major and vital talent in full bloom, it's the most thrillingly entertaining American movie so far this year." Even Taryn admitted she loved this film and can't wait for Kill Bill Volume 2. Nobody can unravel a yarn like Tarantino. Unfortunately, I have to wait until February 20th to complete the tale.

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Maple Leafs 1, Flyers 7

Go Leafs Go!I'm sure at some point in the history of the world somebody's mother told them if they couldn't find anything nice to say, it's best not to say anything at all. I'm going to follow this advice and bite my tongue on this one while referring you to last week's Bills Recap following their most recent humiliation. And speaking of humiliation, I'm sure my brothers and I could manage more than 56 points in an NBA game if given the opportunity. Could last night have been any worse for a Toronto sports fan? Look for the Argos to get killed this afternoon to complete the trifecta.

And what was up with that uncomfortable love-in during Coach's Corner on Hockey Night in Canada last night? Don Cherry was standing directly behind a seated Ron McLean and Mike Myers with his arms wrapped so tightly around the two I thought we were in for some serious bonus coverage. Was Don using McLean and Myers to hold himself up or was he applying some sort of Vulcan death grip to reinforce his superiority? Either way, it was without a doubt the highlight of this so called game.

Current Record  Last Game Season Leaders
11 points
7-1 Loss vs. Philadelphia M. Sundin - 6
J. Nieuwendyk - 6
O. Nolan - 5

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