June 2005 Archives

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The Worst Copyright Violation Ever?

GoogleWhen Google asked us all to upload videos so they could host them, they asked us to ensure we were the copyright holders before sharing. I tested Google a few months ago and had no problem sharing this.

That was nothing. Read this. The world's largest media company has streaming video available for free of Hollywood films and TV programs. Even "The Big Lebowski" is there.

Lets not forget Dude that keeping wildlife, um... an amphibious rodent, for... um, ya know domestic... within the city... that ain't legal either.

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Guest Blog Entry

Ink StainAnyone is welcome to submit a Guest Blog Entry to torontomike.com. I received the following submission earlier today.

Finally a weekend with NO BaseBall -playing in tournaments or helping conveening tourney's after 6 weekends of non stop baseball. A long WEEKEND off - BUT NOOOOOOOOOOO (SNL lingo) Live 8 is upon us from all venues throughout the world Saturday & the FLOYD reunion after 24 years is upon us. I will be watching as most to see P FLOYD, Neil Young, etc. all day long Saturday - DON'T forget what this day is all about. I'm sure ALL politicians have already forgot what this weekend is about - BONO & SIR BOB Rule!! I'm feeling COMFORTABLY NUMB & WISH YOU WERE HERE (MOTHER)

      Twins From Bolton

I'm looking forward to watching Live 8 as well. I often wonder if these things accomplish what they set out to do or if it just becomes about the music. I'm certainly more aware about the situation in Africa since Sir Bob announced these plans and I'm sure others are as well.

The Floyd reunion is awesome, but I'm still most excited about Neil. It's going to be one of those moments when he takes the stage.

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My Sony Walkman Daze

iriverAt about noon today, I grabbed my new iriver H10 and went for a stroll. I was randomly playing the tracks when Public Enemy's "Fight The Power" came on. I blasted it, rapped along with Chuck D and felt an eerily familiar high. It was that same high I used to get from my Sony Walkman.

From about 1985 to 1998 my Sony Walkman went everywhere with me. I wore it when I biked, when I walked, when I rode the TTC and even listened in class. I would make mix tape after mix tape of my favourite tunes, going through a variety of phases. There would be one period where I'd only listen to The Clash or Guns N' Roses, another when it was strictly grunge or Public Enemy. That Public Enemy phase lasted for more than a year. These were my Sony Walkman years and blasting these songs on my personal player provided me with such energy, such introspective reckoning.

Although I've only owned a personal MP3 player for a week, it's bringing me back to those Sony Walkman days. Instead of a 90 minute mix tape, it's a 5 GB playlist. I'm bouncing around from Arcade Fire to The White Stripes through The Kleptones around Queens of the Stone Age and back to Public Enemy and the Beastie Boys.

The best way to close this entry is to borrow I line I heard at lunch uttered by Maestro Fresh Wes on my new iriver H10. "It's '89 y'all, not Beethoven's fifth or sixth."

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An Oxymoron

RadioAll week long CFNY Edge 102 has been airing "The Best Of The Dean Blundell Show" in the mornings.

That's a serious oxymoron. I tune in for the tunes, but when that trio starts yakking I'm out of there. I've read articles that suggest they're quite popular in their target demographic. That's further proof that I'm getting old and they don't want me listening any more. Thankfully we have Bookie in the afternoons and great songs throughout the day.

In my humble opinion, there is no "best of" for that annoying morning show. Less talk, more rock.... please.

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Google Video Experiment Follow-Up

GoogleOn April 14, I set out to test Google's video upload program. I uploaded Custom's "USA" video to see if Google would bother finding out if I had permission from the copyright holder to share it. In this instance I actually had permission from the artist to do this, but Google didn't know that.

Custom's "USA" video is now being shared in Google Videos. It couldn't have been easier. This got me wondering what would happen if people started uploading movies. Would Google be on the ball policing such behaviour? Based on this example, it seems somebody is already giving it a go. This could get interesting...

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Weekly MP3

MP3I share an MP3 from my collection every Wednesday. You have seven days to grab this week's MP3. Please right-click your mouse and select "Save Link As..." or "Save target as..." so you can download it to your PC before playing.

Neil Young - Rockin' In The Free World (Electric)
Live 8 is this weekend, and closing the Canadian show is the great Neil Young. I'm excited. I was looking forward to his appearance at the Junos but he was sidelined with an aneuryism and unable to attend. His appearance this weekend means he's healthy and ready to rock. Awesome.

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Polaroid-o-nize A Pic

PicturesI was playing around with this funky web-based app called the Polaroid-o-nizer. You upload a photo and they render it old-school Polaroid style, complete with writing at the bottom.

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Raging Storm 11, Smoke & Mirrors 12

BaseballIt was the bottom of the last inning, Raging Storm in the field and Smoke & Mirrors at bat. We're holding on to a three run lead but Smoke & Mirrors has managed to load the bases. At the plate is one of the ringers they brought in after their humiliating defeat last week. Grand slam. Game over. Raging Storm lose...Raging Storm lose...Raging Storm lose...

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Point - Counter Point

USACustom's video for his new song "USA" is a thought provoking, politically charged video that's garnered some controversy. You can download the .mov file or watch it in Google Videos. It's raw, it's effective and it's real.

On the other side of the spectrum is Dennis Madalone's "America We Stand As One". It's a honkin' slice of American cheese and you can watch the video here.

I strongly recommend watching Custom's "USA" video and Dennis Madalone's "America We Stand As One" video back-to-back or even simultaneously. I can't wait for the Custom - Dennis Madalone duet.

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Bill C-38

OttawaFirst there was Belgium, then the Netherlands, and if all goes well, tonight there will be Canada. These are the progressive nations that have legalized gay marriage.

Bill C-38, titled Law on Civil Marriage, is expected to clear the House tonight with support from most Liberals, the Bloc and the NDP. When this is offical, I'll feel that Canadian sense of pride I communicated in this entry from two years ago. Although same-sex marriages have been legal in Toronto for some time, making it the law from sea to sea is the right thing to do. It's an equality issue and it's long overdue.

Harper can squak all he wants about his law being tainted because it required the support of the Bloc. For starters, it's called democracy and all elected MPs have an equal vote. Secondly, and this ties in with my Harper Hypocrisy entry from a couple of days ago, why the hell was it fine and dandy when Harper voted alongside the Blog to defeat the Liberals? Suddenly the Bloc vote doesn't count? What an idiot.

Go C-38, Go!

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My iriver H10

iriverFor my birthday, my loved ones all threw a few bucks in my hat so I could buy myself an MP3 player. It's the only gift I got and it's the only gift I really needed. I had been doing a great deal of research these past few weeks to ensure I bought the right make and model for me.

I wanted a player that would hold a sufficient number of MP3s and play them with a top notch quality of sound. Furthermore, I wanted a player with a good reputation, good navigation and a built-in FM tuner. Finally, this player had to record voice and the radio, and convert these recording to MP3. These were my rules as I began my search.

The iPod was eliminated right off the bat. iPods are great if you just want to play MP3s, but I was looking for something a little more. It didn't take long before the iriver H10 began to jump ahead of the pack. The iriver H10 does everything I wanted my player to do, but it also allows you to view pictures and browse text files. Another cool feature is the clock and alarm as well as the ability to program the recording of a particular radio station for a specific period of time. Review after review praised the iriver H10 for producing awesome sound and many reviewers preferred the player straight up when compared to the iPod, without considering the extra features.

It's early yet, but I'm quite pleased with my choice. I've got a large collection of MP3s and now I have a great player to hear them on when I'm on the go. Thanks everyone!

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Bang On

Exclamation Point!At lunch I threw The Kleptones' "A Night at the Hip-Hopera" into my new iriver H10 (more on that later) and went for a stroll in the hot, hot heat. "Question", a track in the collection, features a sound bite from "Fight Club" that really struck a nerve with me. Even though I had heard it many, many times, it was as if I was finally hearing it for the first time.

I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off.

Tyler Durden is bang on. He follows it up with more brilliance. "You're not your job. You're not how much money you have in the bank. You're not the car you drive. You're not the contents of your wallet. You're not your fucking khakis. You're the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world."

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The Monday Shuffle

The Quintessential PlayerEvery Monday I shuffle my entire MP3 collection in the Quintessential Player and list the first ten songs that play. Here are the ten tunes I heard today.

  1. Lighthouse - One Fine Morning
  2. The Simpsons - I Love To See You Smile
  3. Sloan - Sugartune
  4. Queen - Now I'm Here
  5. U2 - A Sort Of Homecoming
  6. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Apache Rose Peacock
  7. Ice Cube - I'm Scared
  8. Queens of the Stone Age - God Is In The Radio
  9. The Boomtown Rats - She's So Modern
  10. Alice In Chains - Man In The Box

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Guest Blog Entry

Ink StainAnyone is welcome to submit a Guest Blog Entry to torontomike.com. I received the following submission earlier today.

Happy birthday you wacky bastard. I havn't checked out your site in a while on account of the hockey lockout, but today I decided to take a look and see what you're ranting about these days and see that it's your birthday. What are the odds? like 1 in 365 or something. Maybe I'll see you for some leaf games this year, I hear this is gonna be their year. go team! I don't think I'll be going to any games or buying merchandise for a while though, I don't want to give any more money to those greedy bastards. Later bro-seph.

      Alexi Chabane

I've heard the same about the Leafs. This is definitely their year. Of course, I've been saying that for 31 years in a row now.

Explain the "bro-seph" thing to me. You're the second person to email me a "bro-seph" greeting today. Am I missing out on the latest thing? I want to steal that thing, once you explain it to me.

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Birthdays Today

BirthdaysThe following people are celebrating a birthday today.

  • Chris Woodward - 29
  • Tobey Maguire - 30
  • Mike Boon - 31
  • Julia Duffy - 54
  • Ross Perot - 75

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The Negotiations Are Underway

SLSIt's that time of year again. It's time to put the latest edition of SLS to bed.

Mark and I are currently involved in some pretty heavy duty negotiations as we shape this thirteenth installment. We'll finalize the 80 minutes early next week and I'll post the final songlist here. In the meantime, you might want a crash course on SLS.

Stay tuned. SLS13 is gonna rock!

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumPaul Winchell was 82. He was a ventriloquist, inventor and children's TV show host best known for creating the lispy voice of Winnie the Pooh's animated friend Tigger.

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My Quote of the Week

Opening Quotes"Our birthdays are feathers in the broad wing of time."
      - Jean Paul Richter

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My MP3s Updated

CDI've added 14 new CDs to my MP3 collection. Four of them I was heavily anticipating while the others just sort of showed up at the door and I let them in. The Celine Dion addition is tied to a rather long story I should remember to share some time soon.

  • Foo Fighters - In Your Honor (Discs 1 & 2)
  • The White Stripes - Get Behind Me Satan
  • Coldplay - X&Y
  • Morcheeba - Who Can You Trust?
  • Morcheeba - Big Calm
  • The Notting Hillbillies - Missing...Presumed Having A Good Time
  • Macy Gray - On How Life Is
  • Various Artists - The Sopranos: Music From The HBO Original Series
  • Meat Loaf - Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell
  • Janet Jackson - Design of a Decade 1986/1996
  • Barry White - The Icon Is Love
  • Sting & The Police - The Very Best Of Sting & The Police
  • Celine Dion - All the Way: A Decade of Song

That's 732 complete albums, 10820 songs and 690 hours, 49 minutes and 08 seconds of tunage. Check it out.

If you want to peak behind the curtain and see how I do it, read this detailed account as to how you can rip your CD collection to MP3 like me.

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New Pictures

New PicturesI've posted four new pictures in Pictures. Two are from Taryn's 30th Birthday lunch this afternoon, one is from our Blue Jays game on Father's Day and another is Michelle enjoying the sun.

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Happy Birthday Baby!

Happy Birthday Baby!I thought we had a deal. In fact, I'm sure of it. When I married her 9.5 years ago, I married a twenty year old and I expected her to stay in her 20s. Today, My wife turns the big 3-0. This wasn't part of the deal.

I suppose there are benefits to being married to a woman in her 30s. I'm about to find out. Happy birthday baby! I hope you have a great day and another fantastic year. I love you big time.

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The Michelle Update

BabyMichelle has been doing some pretty cool stuff lately. I've got to document this somewhere so I can reference it later, and this is probably the best place to do it. Here's a Michelle update.

  • First unsupported steps - Two days ago, June 23, 2005
  • Number of teeth - Stalled at six
  • Coolest words ever spoken - "Hi Daddy", minutes ago after I said "Hi Michelle"
  • Favourite words - "Hi", "Mommy", "Mama", "Daddy", "Dada"
  • Other cools stuff she does - She waves, she claps, she dances and she moves in for a big ol' kiss

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Harper Hypocrisy

OttawaThat was some drama on Parliament Hill the other night. The Liberals teamed up with the NDP and the Bloc and used an obscure rule that allows parties to cut off debate when they feel one party is obstructing the business of Parliament. It was quite the gamble, but a successful one as the budget passed by a 152-147 vote.

Since the Conservatives were outsmarted that Thursday night, it's been all sour grapes. Peter MacKay compared the Liberals to Hannibal Lecter, others called it sneaky and Harper called it undemocratic. What's killing me is the hypocrisy of it all. The Conservatives have been very vocal for months that they would do whatever it takes to bring down this government and defeat this budget. They would resort to any loop hole in the book, bragging about how they intended to stall Parliament and force an election. The Liberals fight back and are suddenly sneaky?

Harper thought he sensed a moment during the public outcry resulting from Gomery and he went for the juggular. Harper failed and is only losing popularity in this country. Watching him drop in the polls reaffirms my belief that this is the greatest nation in the world.

Next we legalize same-sex marriage. Harper will lose this battle too, and that's a good thing for everyone.

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

A picture of Homer Jay Simpson"The food was not undelicious."

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Celebrity Watching

BinocularsI'm not ashamed to admit that for the most part, I thoroughly enjoy Tom Cruise movies. He's a pretty damn consistent performer, almost always doing a good job in a good movie. I suppose you could say I'm somewhat of a Tom Cruise fan.

Over the past two months, Tom Cruise seems to have lost it. I don't actively seek celebrity news, but you can't miss the headlines of late, all of them providing further evidence that he's gone bonkers. As far as I can tell, this all started in April when we learned that he and sweet Katie Holmes were an item. It's been a slippery slope ever since.

Tom Cruise watching has been a pretty entertaining sport this spring. What will he do or say next? Will it be more anti-psychiatry crusading? More lashing out at fellow celebrities who treat their clinical afflictions with medicine? Something to do with Scientology perhaps? Or will he come up with something completely out of the blue?

Stay tuned. Tom Cruise is imploding in front of our very eyes.

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Season Six Cover Art

HomerI own the first five seasons of "The Simpsons" on DVD, and the covers are all pretty much the same but with a different colour for each season. Season six, due later this summer, will have an entirely new look and feel.

Here's the cover. Isn't it awesome? My hero in all his glory.

I can't wait to add it to my collection.

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Memorable Movie Quotes

MoviesAFI counted down what they deem to be the top 100 quotes in American movie history. Here is their top 10.

1. "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn," "Gone With the Wind," 1939.
2. "I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse," "The Godfather," 1972.
3. "You don't understand! I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I could've been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am," "On the Waterfront," 1954.
4. "Toto, I've got a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore," "The Wizard of Oz," 1939.
5. "Here's looking at you, kid," "Casablanca," 1942.
6. "Go ahead, make my day," "Sudden Impact," 1983.
7. "All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up," "Sunset Blvd.," 1950.
8. "May the Force be with you," "Star Wars," 1977.
9. "Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy night," "All About Eve," 1950.
10. "You talking to me?" "Taxi Driver," 1976.

There are some glaring omissions on that list. Here are five obvious ones that didn't make their top 100.

  1. "Oh, I'm sorry. Did I break your concentration?" - Jules Winnfield, Pulp Fiction
  2. "All I need are some tasty waves, a cool buzz, and I'm fine." - Jeff Spicoli, Fast Times At Ridgemont High
  3. "It's not until you lose everything that you are free to do anything." - Tyler Durden, Fight Club
  4. "Keaton always said, "I don't believe in God, but I'm afraid of him." Well I believe in God, and the only thing that scares me is Keyser Soze." - Verbal Kint, The Usual Suspects
  5. "Hey Peter, man, check out channel 9, it's the breast exams." - Lawrence, Office Space

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Guest Blog Entry

Ink StainAnyone is welcome to submit a Guest Blog Entry to torontomike.com. I received the following submission earlier today.

Hey Mike, glad that you are nothing like Mike Jackson or Mike Tyson (yuck, yuck)! Anyway, will you be going to see the Live 8 in Barrie? I don't have any idea who is going to perform so you can keep me updated. If purely Canadian content, I'll tell you who I would like to see: Rush, Our Lady Peace, Barenaked Ladies, Nickelback, Bryan Adams, Shania Twain, Terri Clark, Big Sugar (although they split up, it would be great just to see Gordie Johnson play guitar), Jesse Cook, Natalie McMaster, The Tragically Hip, Jeff Healey, Lisa Brokop, Chantal Kreviazuk, Jann Arden, The Arrogant Worms, Carolyn Dawn Johnson, David Usher, Finger Eleven....these are about the ones I can think of right now. Your list?


Whether I should try and score tickts to Live 8 was a subject of much debate in my head this week. It's my favourite venue and a few of my favourite bands will be there including this one but how many songs would they be able to perform and how much Celine Dion fluff would I have to endure in the blazing sun for an entire day? Still, I woke up yesterday deciding that I should go...before changing my mind at the last second because I can't really afford to give up that entire Saturday.

Here's the bill of mostly Canadian peformers:

  • African Guitar Summit
  • Barenaked Ladies
  • Blue Rodeo
  • Bruce Cockburn
  • Bryan Adams
  • The Bachman Cummings Band
  • Deep Purple
  • DobaCaracol featuring Kna'an
  • Gordon Lightfoot
  • Great Big Sea
  • Jann Arden
  • Jet
  • Les Trois Accords
  • Motley Crue
  • Our Lady Peace
  • Sam Roberts
  • Simple Plan
  • Tegan & Sara
  • The Tragically Hip
  • Tom Cochrane

Here's my current dream Cancon lineup:

  • Arcade Fire
  • Billy Talent
  • Broken Social Scene
  • Custom
  • Hayden
  • Hot Hot Heat
  • K-OS
  • Metric
  • Neil Young
  • Our Lady Peace
  • Sam Roberts
  • Sarah McLachlan
  • Sloan
  • The Tragically Hip

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The Friday Five

The Number FiveOpening bands for The Tragically Hip I have most enjoyed (excluding Edgefests)

  1. The Watchmen
  2. Hayden
  3. Sam Roberts
  4. Sarah Harmer
  5. The Rheostatics

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Memo To Rock Bands Everywhere

MemoThere once was a band called the Smashing Pumpkins. My first serious introduction to the Chicago rock group was a disc they released in '93 entitled "Siamese Dream". It was awesome, a play-through, a tour de force. They immediately became one of my favourite bands and I went out and bought their follow-up double album "Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness" and then "Adore".

When I heard they were breaking up, I was bummed, but at least I was going to catch them on their farewell tour. They came through Barrie and I was there to pay my last respects. It ranks as the greatest disappointment of my concert going life. Billy Corgan clearly didn't want to be there and they went through the motions offering a weak playlist with only a few crowd pleasers which they managed to change just enough to make awful. It was a short and brutal end to a band I once adored. They didn't even throw their fans a bone with a single encore.

I don't believe I've intentionally played a Smashing Pumpkins album since. That performance left a really bad taste in my mouth and I haven't forgiven and forgot. The other day I read about Corgan's plan to reunite the band and it barely registered as news I'd be interested in. That's how far their stock has fallen in my eyes.

There's a lesson to be learned here for all band members who frequent this site. If your fans shell out good money to hear you perform live, entertain them. At the very least, pretend that you're happy to be there and do your best. Don't pull a Corgan and piss off your core audience. Otherwise, when you reform and mount your comeback, few will care.

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Days Of The Week Songs

MusicHave you ever wondered what the best days of the week songs were? I was just thinking about it, and I've come up with this list.

Here are my favourite days of the week songs.

  • Monday - The Boomtown Rats' "I Don't Like Mondays"
  • Tuesday - Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Tuesday's Gone"
  • Wednesday - Simon and Garfunkel's "Wednesday Morning, 3 a.m."
  • Thursday - Jim Croce's "Thursday"
  • Friday - The Cure's "Friday I'm In Love"
  • Saturday - Marcy Playground's "It's Saturday"
  • Sunday - I Mother Earth's "Another Sunday"

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Foo Solution

CDEarlier today I bitched about the Foo frustration I was feeling trying to rip "In Your Honor" to MP3. I mentioned I had a few tricks up my sleeve, and one of them just worked.

I had a friend rip them with AnyDVD, which celebrates the fact it can play, copy and rip protected Audio CDs. It worked wonderfully and produced some fine sounding files. I finally have my Foo.

I should read the archives of my own site more often. It turns out I've been down this road before. Back in October I had a similar experience with the Beastie Boys' "To The 5 Boroughs". It too refused to play on my home PC because of copy control software. At work, however, I had no problems ripping that CD whereas I couldn't get "In Your Honor" to rip properly without the assistance of AnyDVD.

In my honour indeed.

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Weekly MP3

MP3I share an MP3 from my collection every Wednesday. You have seven days to grab this week's MP3. Please right-click your mouse and select "Save Link As..." or "Save target as..." so you can download it to your PC before playing.

Ben Folds Five - Army
Every once in a while, I dig a good piano rock song. Ben Folds is a master of the art, and this is one of my favourites from the Ben Folds Five. It appeared on SLS2 which presents a perfect opportunity to remind you that we're putting SLS13 to bed next week.

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Foo Frustration

CDI've been looking forward to hearing the new double album from the Foo Fighters for a while now. Yesterday, I got the CD and excitedly put it in my CD ROM drive on my personal computer and heard absolutely nothing. Even if I explored the CD ROM drive it wouldn't recognize the disc. This was the case for both "In Your Honor" CDs.

I managed to read the disc on my work PC and decided to rip it to MP3. First of all, this copy protected CD tried to install some piece of crap software on my system that would play the tunes. When I cancelled this installation, the CD ejected. If I wanted to play the disc, I had to install the piece of crap software. I managed to rip the discs to MP3 without installing the software, but when I played the files back the songs stuttered as if they were skipping. Not one MP3 was salvagable. Whatever that piece of crap copy protection software they've got on "In Your Honor" is, it prevents me creating a decent MP3 from it. What a frustrating turn of events. There has got to be a better way. If you shell out $20 for a CD, you should be able to rip it to MP3 to play on your MP3 player.

I've ripped 718 discs successfully, and I'm not about to be beat by Sony and the Foo Fighters. I've got a few more tricks up my sleeve and I'll share the results here. I want my Foo and I want my Foo in MP3.

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumKarl Mueller was 41. He was the bassist and cofounder of the rock band Soul Asylum.

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Raging Storm 19, Smoke & Mirrors 4

BaseballIt was our best all-around game of the season and the mercy rule had to be enforced to end it. In this league, if a team is up by 15 after a full inning, it's game over. I scored the 19th run with a solo shot, the only homer of the ballgame.

We in Raging Storm are now 6-0.

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayTom Cruise Kills Oprah - The title says it all. Enjoy.

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumBen Kerr was 75. He was the ageless crooner who spiced up the corner of Yonge and Bloor Sts. with his smooth country singing.

I lived at Yonge and Bloor for a couple of years and Ben was always there. On the one hand, he seemed pleasant and charming, happily singing for change at the corner and running for mayor whenever possible. On the other hand, I would sometimes see him digging through garbage cans inside the station. Reading of his death, all I could envision was that sight of an older man rummaging through garbage at Yonge/Bloor station. It was so sad.

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumBill LaForge was 53. He was a former coach of the NHL's Vancouver Canucks and several teams in the Canadian Hockey League.

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Baker and Northey on Y108

The Tragically HipI heard Rob Baker and Craig Northey on Y108 last night. They were live in the studio playing some songs from their Stripper's Union collaboration. Baker, of course, is from The Tragically Hip and Northey was from The Odds.

They sounded great, but that's not the purpose of this entry. Baker was asked for a Hip status update and he provided one. He spoke about the greatest hits project and provided a few new details. He referred to it as a double CD and mentioned a DVD or two as part of the package. He also said it should be available in October.

I love the idea of this collection being two CDs and I'm ecstatic at the idea of including a DVD. Giddy-up!

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The Monday Shuffle

The Quintessential PlayerEvery Monday I shuffle my entire MP3 collection in the Quintessential Player and list the first ten songs that play. Here are the ten tunes I heard today.

  1. Ray Charles - Wha'd I Say
  2. Violent Femmes - I Held Her In My Arms
  3. The Simpsons - Cool
  4. Neil Young - Too Far Gone
  5. Buffalo Springfield - Rock and Roll Woman
  6. Pearl Jam - Insignificance
  7. Richard Cheese - Baby Got Back
  8. Leonard Cohen - In My Secret Life
  9. Radiohead - Bullet Proof...I Wish I Was
  10. Underworld - Born Slippy

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The Pizza Pizza Loop Hole

FoodI attended the game yesterday at the ballpark formerly known as Skydome. It was a sloppy affair and we lost, but because we struck out 7 Brewers we were told our ticket stub would entitle us to a free slice of pizza at any Pizza Pizza location in the city.

As an experiment, I opted to have my tickets emailed to me. I recieved a PDF containing the six tickets I ordered and I printed them myself. Here's where we find a loop hole in their Pizza Pizza promotion that I could exploit throughout the day until 16:00 EST this afternoon.

I printed my ticket stub and there's nothing stopping me from printing this PDF dozens and dozens of times. I'm essentially printing money, redeeming each ticket a multitude of times at various Pizza Pizza locations throughout the city. The promotion is ideal for Pizza Pizza when only one ticket stub is printed and delivered to each customer, but when you empower the customer to print their own ticket, you empower them to print their own coupon for one free slice.

Mmmmmmm, loop holes.

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Percy Arrowsmith

NewspaperI was thinking about Percy Arrowsmith this morning. I had never heard of Percy Arrowsmith until a couple of weeks ago when I read that he and his 100-year-old wife Florence had set the world record for longest marriage. They celebrated their 80th wedding anniversary in Hereford, England.

Merely two weeks after the story of Percy Arrowsmith's 80 year marriage broke, poor Percy passed away at the age of 105. For 105 years he lived happily in anonymity only to die two weeks after his story was picked up by the Associated Press.

There's no way this was a coincidence. I'm guessing some reporter interviewing him for this story tranferred germs he was too weak to fight. His isolated existence in Hereford was comprimised by a bunch of story-hungry reporters and cameramen who no doubt brought a number of bugs with them. He didn't have a chance.

Or perhaps the attention he garnered caused him to realize that he had been married to the same woman for 80 years. Suicide, no doubt, became his only escape.

Percy Arrowsmith, rest in peace.

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Spin's Top Albums From The Past 20 Years

MusicSpin Magazine has listed what it believes to be the top albums of the past 20 years. I'm always interested in this kind of thing, so lets take a look at Spin's top ten.

  1. Radiohead - OK Computer
  2. Public Enemy - It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
  3. Nirvana - Nevermind
  4. Pavement - Slanted and Enchanted
  5. The Smiths - The Queen is Dead
  6. The Pixies - Surfer Rosa
  7. De La Soul - 3 Feet High and Rising
  8. Prince - Sign o' the Times
  9. PJ Harvey - Rid of Me
  10. N.W.A. - Straight Outta Compton

That's an awesome top three. Their numbers 2 and 3 appear in my top five as well. In my opinion, the further away we get from "It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back", the more innovative and exceptional it seems. I listened to it again last week and wondered why we don't hear anything like that anymore. The closest we come to "It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back" is System of a Down.

Radiohead, Public Enemy and Nirvana...three bands that made the past twenty years something awfully special. As relevant today as ever.

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Before Sunset

A Movie ReelBefore Sunset: 7.5 out of 10.

It has been a while since I had seen "Before Sunrise", but last night Taryn and I sat down and watched the sequel, "Before Sunset".

The entire movie is basically a couple of people talking. It's one long conversation as a couple walks the streets of Paris. Somehow, the incredible chemistry between the two actors and the content of their conversations and acting skills created a rather enjoyable film. I wasn't bored once. I totally dug it.

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Game Day

Blue JaysFor Father's Day, James and I are heading to the ballpark formerly known as SkyDome to watch our Toronto Blue Jays take on the National League's Milwaukee Brewers.

Josh Towers will take the hill for the Jays, trying to win his first decision since beating Minnesota on May 17. He has lost four-straight decisions and is 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA in June -- all after starting the year 5-1. Milwaukee will counter with lefty Chris Capuano. Capuano has gone 1-2 with a 5.82 ERA in June and has lost his last two decisions.

The last game we attended was a resounding success. Not only did we win 12-5, but I caught my first game ball fulfilling a life long dream.

Go Jays Go!

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My Quote of the Week

Opening Quotes"I tried hard to have a father, but instead I had a dad."
      - Nirvana, Serve The Servants

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Guest Blog Entry

Ink StainAnyone is welcome to submit a Guest Blog Entry to torontomike.com. I received the following submission earlier today.

Re: I Can't Lose

Nothing to do with the post itself, but with the title. It reminded me of a great show I watched as a teen that just seemed to vanish from the airwaves one day. Whatever happened to Parker Lewis Can't Lose??

      Mike H.

I was a big fan of that show too! Parker Lewis would wear all these button up shirts with crazy patterns on it and we used to call them Parker Lewis shirts. For a period of time, we'd actively seek out Parker Lewis Shirts because we thought they were the coolest.

The father on that show was the always funny Timothy Stack and to this day when I'm watching reruns of E.R. and Abraham Benrubi appears I call him Kubiac. As for Parker Lewis himself, I don't think I've seen him since. Good show...probably ahead of its time.

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayAnti-Hit List - I always enjoy reading John Sakamoto's Anti-Hit List column each week, and now it's available online as an MP3. The MP3 for this week's column is right here. It's very cool to read about the ten tracks on his Anti-Hit List and then listen for samples and complete version of many of the songs he mentions. I've said it before and I'll say it again. What an age we live in.

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Live 8

TicketstubEarlier this month, I wrote about the Molson Park scam and how I attended what was billed as the "Last Bash in Barrie" despite the fact they're still holding concerts there. Now it seems Molson Park has been renamed Barrie's Park Place and may host Live 8 on July 2nd.

Live 8 is going to be free and it's going to be fantastic. Bryan Adams and Billy Talent are definitely on the roster, and there are indications the Barenaked Ladies, Avril Lavigne, Our Lady Peace, Jann Arden, the Tragically Hip and Blue Rodeo have also been contacted. Dan Aykroyd has been confirmed as the host.

Depending upon who you believe, Molson Park has either already landed Live 8 or it's just one of a few sites still being considered. Either way, I'm just glad to see she's still open for rock n' roll business. As I've written before, I've enjoyed many a spectacular concert at this venue. If you were to ask me what my favourite concert venue is, the answer would be Molson Park in Barrie.

As great a venue as Molson Park is, Live 8 belongs in Toronto and I'm holding out hope we host it right here in the big smoke.

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88¢ Bin

CDI was in a WalMart today, and there was an 88¢ DVD bin. That's right, the bin was full of DVDs that were selling for 88¢ each.

I spent a fair bit of time going through the contents of this bin, because I couldn't believe the price. Most of the titles I hadn't heard of, but there were collections of "The Dick Van Dyke Show" episodes and some old time Warner Brothers cartoons.

I was desperately searching for some old Popeye cartoons as I have great memories of a bargain bin collection of VHS Popeye cartoons we used to play over and over and over again. My favourite was "Popeye The Sailor Meets Ali Baba and His Forty Theives" which was just hilarious. Had that title appeared in the 88¢ bin, I'd have bought five. One for Ryan, one for Steve, one for James, one for Michelle and one for yours truly.

Abdul Hassin got it anymore.

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayThe 80s Tune Archive - Heaven...I'm in heaven. This site brings me back to those glorious Saturday mornings in the 80s when I'd get out of bed and watch those glorious Saturday morning cartoons. They're all here, along with the opening. I've already enjoyed "The Transformers", "The Smurfs", "Battle of the Planets" and "Alvin and the Chipmunks".

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

A picture of Homer Jay Simpson"The internet wasn't created for mockery, it was supposed to help researchers at different universities share data sets. It was!"

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The Friday Five

The Number FiveMy favourite episodes of WKRP

  1. "Baseball" - Les in the outfield, begging the batter not to hit it to him, with memories of violin practice swirling in his head. This is the definitive WKRP moment.
  2. "Fish Story" - Johnny and Venus are taking an on-air test to demonstrate the effects of alcohol upon the average driver.
  3. "Dr. Fever and Mr. Tide" - Johnny is Rip Tide, host of a TV disco dance party.
  4. "Pilot" - Give it to me straight doctor, I can take it!
  5. "God Talks To Johnny" - No explanation required.

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Asking The Anonymous HMV Manager

HMVI have a contact at HMV, the popular music and video store. My contact wishes to remain anonymous, but I can tell you that's he's a manager of a Toronto HMV. Periodically I'm going to ask questions of The Anonymous HMV Manager and I'll post his answers here.

I recently told The Anonymous HMV Manager the titles of ten CDs I was interested in. Today I asked him to rank them in order as to how they sold at his store in their first week of release. This is the kind of crap I'm always curious about and now I have a contact in the inside.

Here's how The Anonymous HMV Manager had my list of titles ranked.

  1. Coldplay - X&Y (by a long shot)
  2. White Stripes - Get Behind Me Satan
  3. System Of A Down - Mesmerize
  4. Oasis - Don't Believe The Truth
  5. Weezer - Make Believe
  6. Foo Fighters - In Your Honor
  7. Beck - Guero
  8. Audioslave - Out Of Exile
  9. Mars Volta - Frances The Mute
  10. Arcade Fire - Funeral (First week sales were not good but its been selling pretty consistant now)

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I Can't Lose

BaseballI play in two different slo-pitch leagues. In one, the one I maintain a page for, we're 4-0. In the other, after a thrilling come from behind victory tonight, we're 3-0.

I can't lose. I've yet to taste defeat. If you include the exhibition games I'm 9-0 this season. Tonight, we were down by a run heading into the top of the ninth. I got to the plate with the bases loaded and lined a two-run double into the gap. We held on for a sweet, sweet victory.

The drives of 2005 continue. Everything's coming up Milhouse!

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U.S. Open

U.S. OpenThe 105th U.S. Open teed off this morning. I've entered a pool at work in which I own a group of three golfers. If my group of three all make the cut and shoot the lowest combined score, I win.

My brothers essentially picked my golfers for me, so if I lose they're to blame. If I win, however, I'm not sharing the spotlight with them. It's my five bucks on the line! I selected Vijay Singh, Phil Mickelson and Luke Donald.

Visit the leaderboard to follow my progress.

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The CRTC Approves Satellite Radio...Sort Of

Howard SternI love the idea of satellite radio. Dozens and dozens of stations for every taste, sounding great and without the inane commercials. Furthermore, Howard Stern is heading that way at the end of the year and I've been a big fan for a decade now.

Today, the CRTC made their landmark decision and approved satellite radio. This is good news, but read the decision and you'll find the following paragraph under "Adherence to the Regulations and Industry Codes".

The Commission notes that both CSR and Sirius Canada committed to be accountable for the content of the programming contained on all Canadian and non-Canadian channels distributed by their undertakings. In this regard, the applicants have undertaken not to broadcast anything in contravention of the law, any abusive comment, or any obscene or profane language. CSR and Sirius Canada have also committed to adhere to the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' (CAB) Sex-Role Portrayal Code for Television and Radio Programming, and CSR has further committed to abide by the CAB's Broadcast Code for Advertising to Children. Accordingly, the Commission has imposed conditions of licence requiring adherence to the relevant sections of the Radio Regulations, and to the aforementioned codes. The Commission notes that both applicants committed to take whatever action is necessary to ensure adherence to the regulations and codes including, if necessary, the removal of a channel from their program offerings.

It appears as if the content on satellite radio will be regulated the same as it is currently on terrestrial radio. In the United States, Howard Stern's jump was to avoid the FCC as satellite radio there is essentially a safe haven for explicit content and language. Up here, it doesn't sound like that's the case which means the new Sirius radio Howard Stern show can't air here uncensored. Canadian subscribers to the Sirius/CBC offering won't hear the Howard Stern show that airs in the United States, if we hear it at all.

Satellite radio will be a paid service. Adults will subscribe to the service and buy special hardware to receive the signal. Considering these facts, a subscriber would be well aware as to what kind of content they will be exposed to, which may or may not include a little "obscene or profane language". We're big boys and girls, I'm pretty sure we can censor the content ourselves. The CRTC has over extended their bounds, grossly encroaching upon our freedom to subscribe to satellite radio and hear an F-bomb or two.

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Terri Schiavo's Autopsy

Medical"The brain weighed 615 grams, roughly half of the expected weight of a human brain. This damage was irreversible, and no amount of therapy or treatment would have regenerated the massive loss of neurons."

That statement from Pinellas-Pasco Medical Examiner Jon Thogmartin accompanied Terri Shiavo's autopsy results, released today. It's what we suspected and why she was allowed to die.

May she finally be able to rest in peace.

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Weekly MP3

MP3I share an MP3 from my collection every Wednesday. You have seven days to grab this week's MP3. Please right-click your mouse and select "Save Link As..." or "Save target as..." so you can download it to your PC before playing.

Three Dog Night - Mama Told Me (Not To Come)
If you're going to share a tune, you may as well share a personal favourite. I totally dig this Three Dog Night classic. Enjoy.

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumLane Smith was 69. He was a longtime character actor who played a small-town district attorney who clashed with Joe Pesci in "My Cousin Vinny".

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Guest Blog Entry

Ink StainAnyone is welcome to submit a Guest Blog Entry to torontomike.com. I received the following submission earlier today.

I was on line, since we were talking about it, to see if my cousin was on IMdB and he is!! It does not give much info at all and it does not list any of the music videos he did but he is there! He also won an MMVA for the Barenaked Ladies video "Enid". For a little info on him you can check out this link http://www.bikinifilms.co.uk/comdirectorinfo/timhamilton.htm Just for curiosity!


"Enid", another excellent slice of Cancon pie. Enid we never really knew each other anyway...

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Big Ben's 9.79

OlympicsA couple of Mikes, formerly on top of the world and now just falling from grace, were prominent in the news this week. There was Mike Tyson's loss and retirement from boxing and a verdict in the Michael Jackson case. Reading about these two got me thinking about Ben Johnson.

I don't have to remind my fellow Canadians that Ben was the fastest man in the world. In 1988, we as a nation gathered around televisions to watch him blow away Carl Lewis and the rest of the field to win the Gold medal in the 100m and set a new world record time of 9.79. I also don't have to remind my fellow Canadians as to what happened next. Ben's fall from grace was shockingly sudden and it broke our collective hearts.

Yesterday, Asafa Powell set a new world record in the men's 100 metres, registering 9.77 seconds. Here we are 17 years after Ben's run and the world record is just 0.02 seconds faster than what he ran that day in Seoul. 17 years to shave all that time off of Ben's best. What gets me is the fact Ben shot up his right hand in victory with a about ten feet to go. I distinctly remember yelling at the TV when he did that, knowing that if he ran it out that record could have been in the low 9.70s.

Of course, Ben was cheating, and deserved to lose his Gold medal and world record. I have little doubt everyone in that 100m final in Seoul was cheating, but Ben got caught. The high of that 9.79 followed by the low of his disqualification still makes me dizzy... and sad.

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A Raging Storm Does In Raging Storm

BaseballWith tornado warnings about, it's probably a good time to explain the lack of updates to the Official Raging Storm Web Page.

The game was scheduled for last night in Mississauga. During a serious down pour, I fought traffic and managed to make it to the diamond just in time. The rain had whimpered out and the thunderstorm had passed. Unfortunately, this particular diamond is literally in a valley and the rain had pooled, flooding us out.

It took a raging storm to stop the Raging Storm.

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Guest Blog Entry

Ink StainAnyone is welcome to submit a Guest Blog Entry to torontomike.com. I received the following submission earlier today.

Another link to the "Check the OR" video is that it was my cousin Tim's directors debut. We were just talking last month about the experience and what a goof Tom was but that he really could rap.


Extra coolness! The mother of my favourite nephew has a cousin who directed the video for "Check the O.R.". Could this story get any better?

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumScott Young was 87. He was a prolific Canadian journalist and author as well as a father to the Godfather of Grunge.

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Guest Blog Entry

Ink StainAnyone is welcome to submit a Guest Blog Entry to torontomike.com. I received the following submission earlier today.

Good day to all!

I thought this might make for a interesting concert review. On Thursday of last week I traveled from Calgary (major flooding) to Barrie (major flooding) to catch one of the only five Tom Green concerts in support of his new Rap CD! Yes I flew all the way just for this, and a visit to Paramount's kick ass Wonderland, I also work for the tenacious Air Canada so no biggie. Well the show was fantastic. Tom Green has great flow, spitting rhymes with impressive delivery and style. The content was funny but not stupid. He was backed up by Mike Simpson of the Dust Brothers, who supplied some sick beats that had some excellent hooks. Funky stuff with some hardcore kick. The beats were very solid. Antics included stuffed animals for everyone, tinfoil robot suits, scrambled eggs and other fun stuff. Tom was very personal with the crowd rapping directly to all of us in the front row at any given moment. Concert was at the Foundation in Barrie, a great venue for the show. Anyways it was better than I had hoped it would be, I'm looking forward to the CD, but am hoping for a concert bootleg to surface soon, I'm dying to re-listen to the tracks.... So keep your ear out for the new stuff in the fall.

P.S. Does anybody else know about the Rob Baker side project called the Stripper's Union? It comes out today and I am very eager to have a listen.


I was reading about Tom Green's rap project this weekend. I well remember Organized Rhyme, his rap outfit back in the day. "Check the O.R." was a guilty pleasure of mine. The video was filmed in a Food City at Jane and Finch which I thought was pretty cool since I was working at another Toronto Food City at the time. Another cool fact was the fact they were signed by the excellent Dream Warriors, which explains the Jane and Finch connection.

As for Rob Baker's supergroup, I was just reading up on them yesterday here. Hitting shelves today, "Stripper's Union Local 518" features 13 tracks written by the super-duo of Baker and Craig Northey from Vancouver band Odds. Fleshing out the quartet are Pat Stewart (Odds, Matthew Good Band), Doug Elliott (Odds, Colin James), and Simon Kendall (Doug and the Slugs, Colin James). Sounds good.

Check the O.R., you like it so far?

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The Verdict Is In...

JusticeWill Michael Jackson be singing "Beat It" or "Smooth Criminal"?

The answer in minutes...

Update: He "Beat It".

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The Monday Shuffle

The Quintessential PlayerEvery Monday I shuffle my entire MP3 collection in the Quintessential Player and list the first ten songs that play. Here are the ten tunes I heard today.

  1. Blind Lemon Jefferson - Prison Cell Blues
  2. Nirvana - Radio Friendly Unit Shifter
  3. White Zombie - Welcome to Planet Motherfucker
  4. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - White Palms
  5. Sloan - People Of The Sky
  6. Brahms - Hungarian Dance No. 5
  7. Billy Kippert - Levon
  8. Limp Bizkit - I Would For You
  9. Matthew Good - Weapon
  10. Foo Fighters - Disenchanted Lullaby

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Madison's Story

DocumentationOne moment can change your life forever. One seemingly typical event on an otherwise normal night has the power to radically alter your life path and turn the world you thought you knew upside down. This is Madison's story.

Raised by acadmemic parents in Miami, Madison focused on scholarly pursuits. She attended a private school in Boston, graduated from college as a premed student and moved to New York to take a position in the Psychiactric Department at Columbia University. Her days were spent in a neuroscience research lab, studying for her medical school entrance exam and working on extremely high level research projects. Her path in life was clear, or so she thought.

Madison's boyfriend at the time was friends with Custom. One night, one random night like any other night, Madison ended up at Custom's loft where a group of people were hanging out, rapping and singing in his studio. Custom invited Madison to take a turn on the mic. She didn't sing, she had never been recorded, she was going to med school, she didn't sing. She did sing.

Custom put up a beat. Madison sang "Both Hands" by Ani DiFranco. Custom threw up some guitar. This was the moment. One seemingly typical event on an otherwise normal night. Days later, after Custom added a rap that recounted that moment in time and finished the track, Madison heard herself and was reborn. She said goodbye to the deposit she put down on her med school tuition. She said hello to poverty, the life of a starving artist, making ends meet by working many a difficult job. She said goodbye to the life she thought was hers and said hello to her true calling. After a year of writing and playing with a band she formed she signed a publishing deal with Windswept Pacific. Madison is a singer.

I've heard this interpretation of "Both Hands" and it blew me away. The collaboration is as magical as the tale it tells. In her words, "I am forever grateful to Duane for pulling the trigger...shooting the gun...hope is dope". This is Madison's story.

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She's Growing Up, Right Before My Eyes

Baby UpdateIt's hard to believe Michelle is already ten months old. How the hell did that happen?

She's got a great big smile and laughs a great deal. She's been standing while holding on to something for months but lately she's been letting go and standing on her own for up to a minute. I don't think she realizes she's not holding anything and when she does it we just go silent and stare at her achievement as if she had just climbed Mount Everest. She loves joining James in the wagon for trips around the neighbourhood and being hoisted on my shoulders for daily dances. She loves to dance. She'll eat just about anything with those six chompers of hers and she's still pretty bald, as James was at her age.

She's so cute it should be illegal and she makes my day. James and her are a deadly heart-breaking duo. Now if I could only freeze frame everything exactly as it is right now...

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From One Mike To Another

BoxingWhen Kevin McBride beat Mike Tyson last night, Tyson said, "I most likely won't fight anymore. I'm not going to disrespect the sport by losing to this caliber of fighters." Assuming Tyson isn't lured back into the ring at some point so he can cash another paycheque, and that's a big assumption, Tyson has retired from boxing with a 50-6-2 record.

Last July, I wrote an open letter to Mike Tyson. Here it is in its entirety.

Hi Mike, it's another Mike here. Unheralded British heavyweight Danny Williams knocked you out in the fourth round last night. Your professional record is now 50-5-2, but this is your first ever loss in a non-title fight. I'm begging you to hang up the gloves for good before you've completely erased any memory of your glory years.

I realize this latest comeback was for purely financial reasons and that you're $38 million in debt, but losing badly to a no-name has further tarnished your already tarnished career. I'm old enough to remember when you were unbeatable. I remember when you were the baddest man on the planet and punished all challengers. I remember playing your Punch Out video game on the old 8-bit Nintendo console and having a heck of a time beating you. I remember you wasting your first 37 opponents, usually in the first or second round by knockout. Your 38th fight was against Buster Douglas and that was the begining of a splippery slope in the wrong direction. Now you're 38 years old and a pathetic shadow of your former self. End your career before it's too late!

It's been sad watching your tragic fall from grace. You could have gone down in history as one of the best but instead you're known now for your soap operatic lifestyle that's littered with prison time, court appearances and massive debt. End your career at 50-5-2 while I still have memories of the youngest-ever heavyweight champion of the world.

I pleaded with Mike last July to quit boxing but he went out last night for one last kick at the can. Here's hoping he keeps his word and stays out of the ring. Few remember those first 37 fights and that's a damn shame.

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The Clearing

A Movie ReelThe Clearing: 5.5 out of 10.

This movie was missing something. I'm not sure what, but it lacked something that would have propelled it beyond such an average score. It's well acted and not bad at all, but it's a little uneventful for a kidnapping flick. It's a slow, plodding character study but the characters aren't particularly interesting. I was rooting for the kidnapper!

If anyone's seen this, there's a scene between Dafoe and Redford that kills me. Hell, it's unlikely anyone reading this is going to watch "The Clearing" and if you are you can just stop reading now because there be spoilers ahead. Redford, a supposedly clever man who is being led through a forest of sorts at gun point by Dafoe, manages to elude his kidnapper and even beats him into submission. Dafoe is now unconscious and his gun is a good twenty feet away. At this point, Redford could a) secure the weapon and perhaps even shoot Dafoe to ensure he's dead, b) run away and/or c) keep an eye on Dafoe to ensure he's really dead. Instead, Redford turns away from the unconscious Dafoe and leans against a tree, catching his breathe. While Redford stands there, confident Dafoe is dead and preparing his next move, Dafoe gains consciousness, stands up and picks up his gun. WTF? The first thing I'd do in that situation is pick up the gun and make sure Dafoe isn't just down for a five minute cat nap.

Roy Hobbs should know better.

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My Quote of the Week

Opening Quotes"Do You Realize that everyone you know someday will die?"
      - The Flaming Lips, Do You Realize?

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My MP3s Updated

CDI've added 9 new CDs to my MP3 collection. A couple of new ones, a bunch of Bob Marley for the summer and a couple of Michael Jackson. I hear it's going to be a big week for him.

  • Audioslave - Out Of Exile
  • Oasis - Don't Believe the Truth
  • Bob Marley & The Wailers - Talkin' Blues
  • Bob Marley & The Wailers - Confrontation
  • Bob Marley & The Wailers - Live!
  • Bob Marley & The Wailers - Survival
  • Bob Marley & The Wailers - Kaya
  • Michael Jackson - Thriller
  • Michael Jackson - Bad

That's 718 complete albums, 10663 songs and 678 hours, 53 minutes and 55 seconds of tunage. Check it out.

If you want to peak behind the curtain and see how I do it, read this detailed account as to how you can rip your CD collection to MP3 like me.

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Guest Blog Entry

Ink StainAnyone is welcome to submit a Guest Blog Entry to torontomike.com. I received the following submission earlier today.

There is nothing more satisfying than spending time with your kids. As they get older, this time seems to diminish with external influences. However, both my kids love baseball & I have been a coach with them the last 4 years on a top level team, it is time well spent. GET INVOLVED Parents, be it ballet, jazz, etc for girls or hockey, soccer or my favourite, Baseball for boys. Be sure, they will appreciate it when they get older.

      Twins From Bolton

Sounds like a plan.

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

A picture of Homer Jay Simpson"If it doesn't have siamese twins in a jar, it is not a fair."

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SLS Submission

SLS SubmissionI recently submitted a tune for SLS13 consideration. I submitted "All These Things That I've Done" from The Killers.

Admittedly, I didn't dig this tune at first. Then, all of a sudden, I started to really like it. Then there's that whole "I've got soul but I'm not a soldier" part with the background singers and BAM! - I'm nominating it for SLS13 consideration.

Did The Killers slip in under the SLS13 wire? Maybe...

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New Pictures

New PicturesI've posted four new pictures in Pictures. Last weekend, James got the second haircut of his young life. The photo evidence awaits you.

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumDana Elcar was 77. He was the round-faced, balding actor whose real-life struggle with blindness was written into his role on the TV adventure series "MacGyver".

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The Friday Five

The Number FiveSuperficial Life Goals

  1. Celebrate Maple Leafs Stanley Cup victory
  2. Watch Pearl Jam concert from backstage and meet Ed
  3. Witness Blue Jays pitcher pitch perfect game
  4. Receive thanks from Oscar winner during acceptance speech
  5. Have blog entries published to unanimous critical praise

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The Big Bounce

A Movie ReelThe Big Bounce: 2 out of 10.

I had heard the ending to this movie sucked. If you can get to the ending of this movie, you deserve some type of reward. It's a horrible script.

The entire time I just felt sorry for Morgan Freeman. Red deserved better. Not only was the dialogue brutal but the story was boring and the acting was stilted. "The Big Bounce" was 88 minutes too long.

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Stuck In The '90s Again

McDonaldsThis past week, I've been heavily spinning Beck's "Guero", Weezer's "Make Believe", Oasis' "Don't Believe the Truth" and Audioslave's "Out of Exile".

Lets flash back ten years to 1995. That year, I was heavily spinning Beck's "Mellow Gold", Weezer's self titled debut, Oasis' "(What's The Story) Morning Glory?", Soundgarden's "Superunknown" and Rage Against the Machine's self titled debut.

Reluctant to find he's stuck in the '90s again.

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My Ronald McDonald Story

McDonaldsRonald McDonald is getting a makeover. McDonald's has announced they're making him more athletic and health-conscious.

Reading this story reminded me about the time I was responsible for Ronald McDonald. As a teenager, I spent eighteen months working at a Toronto McDonald's. Our franchise helped sponsor a local weekend festival and part of this deal was a performance and appearance by Ronald McDonald himself. Somehow, I became the employee responsible for Ronald McDonald. I was there at the side of the stage while he did his thing and I escorted him back to the store.

While I was with Ronald, he stayed completely in character. He was positive, always smiling and repeating catch phrases and inoffensive one-line jokes in his Ronald voice. At the end of the day, it was just Ronald and I in a back room. With nobody around except the two of us, Ronald suddenly and abruptly came out of character. In a far deeper, rougher voice, and without his trademark smile, Ronald asked me if his ride was ready. I remember hearing the question and feeling a little shocked that he left his character in my presence. I was jolted back to reality. Ronald McDonald was a fictional character created by a multinational conglomerate to hook children on fast food. This guy was just a regular joe in make up and a silly outfit. He was trapped in character all day and at this point he just wanted to go home.

I checked the back door and saw his McDonald's car waiting for him. I told Ronnie it was there and he threw me a "thanks man", again out of character. I don't know how many actors are playing the role of Ronald, but I hope they're ready to hit the weights. My pal Ron is getting a makeover.

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayVader on Wheel of Fortune - Watch Darth Vader on Wheel of Fortune.

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The Simpsons Movie Update

Homer"You know what? We've just done the table read for The Simpsons movie, so although we've been promoting that we're going to do it, now we're actually doing it and are in production." These are the words of Nancy Cartwright, who was speaking with BBC Radio 1 this week.

Season 17 is merely months away and now we have preproduction of the long awaiting Simpsons movie. Excellent!

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Time After Time

TimePlease allow me to take a moment to pimp the Guest Blog component of this site. Anyone can fill out this harmless form and I'll post the submission in its entirety. This is your chance to be globally published. Imagine, your thoughts, observations and opinions shared with the world.

Don't be shy. Everyone has something they want to get off their chest. If you don't vent once in a while, you'll explode. Write a Guest Blog today.

Admittedly, there is an alterior motive for this pimpin'. I'm insanely busy and this site would benefit from a few additional voices. Either that or we need to stuff a few more hours into each day.

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Weekly MP3

MP3I share an MP3 from my collection every Wednesday. You have seven days to grab this week's MP3. Please right-click your mouse and select "Save Link As..." or "Save target as..." so you can download it to your PC before playing.

Sublime - What I Got
I'm telling you, summer is here and it's awesome. It's sunny and warm and I'm only sharing sunny and warm music. "What I Got" is a song that reminds me of summer and one of my favourite tunes of all time. Enjoy.

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Guest Blog Entry

Ink StainAnyone is welcome to submit a Guest Blog Entry to torontomike.com. I received the following submission earlier today.

It has been a wonderful year of not having to listen to all those leaf fans in the office talking about how WE are going to win this year.

      The Grinch

You're right, WE are going to win it all next year. Start planning that parade down Yonge Street.

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumAnn Bancroft was 73. She won the 1962 best actress Oscar as the teacher of a young Helen Keller in "The Miracle Worker" but achieved greater fame as the seductive Mrs. Robinson in "The Graduate".

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One Year Ago Today

StanleyRuslan Fedotenko's goal for the Tampa Bay Lightning exactly one year ago today won the Stanley Cup. There hasn't been an NHL game since.

We have managed to survive an entire calendar year without NHL hockey. It's been more than a year since we've seen the Toronto Maple Leafs play. Against all odds, we have persevered.

Stanley, you are gone but not forgotten.

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Worlds 10 Largest Newspapers By Circulation

NewspaperIf you're a useless trivia junkie like me, you'll probably appreciate this list of the world's 10 largest newspapers by circulation.

  1. Yomiuri Shimbun (Japan) 14,532,694
  2. Asahi Shimbun (Japan) 12,601,375
  3. Sichuan Ribao (China) 8,000,000
  4. Mainichi Shimbun (Japan) 5,845,857
  5. Bild (Germany) 5,674,400
  6. Chunichi Shimbun (Japan) 4,323,144
  7. Sun (England) 3,718,354
  8. Renmin Ribao (China) 3,000,000
  9. Sankei Shimbun (Japan) 2,890,835
  10. Nihon Keizai Shimbun (Japan) 2,705,877

The Toronto Star, Canada's largest newspaper by circulation, doesn't crack the world's top 100.

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Things That Make Me Mad: #34

OttawaWord has it a group of Liberal MPs may vote against the budget as a way to prevent the same sex marriage act from being passed. Just yesterday, Pat O'Brien quit the party for the same reason.

I just don't understand how so many people could fight this passionately against an issue such as this. It's a sensible bill that simply ensures the equality of all Canadians. To think the government might fall over such a humane, decent and progressive bill infuriates me to no end.


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Six Feet Under

TVOne of my favourite shows of all time returns tonight. "Six Feet Under" begins it's final season in about ten minutes.

Every time I start thinking television is crap I think about "Six Feet Under" and "The Sopranos", two shows that truly are too good for TV.

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Raging Storm 19, Etobicoke Sharks 16

BaseballIt wasn't quite the convincing win over the Sharks we had last week, but a win is a win. We in Raging Storm have kicked off the 2005 season by going 5-0 out of the gate.

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Best Game In Town

OttawaWhen Belinda defected, it created a virtual tie, broken by the speaker of the house. Then, the Liberals got some breathing room, when they won the seat in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Newfoundland. Today, that breathing room disappeared when MP Pat O'Brien, who opposes the government's position on gay marriage, quit the Liberals to sit as an Independent.

I'm telling you, this is the best game in town.

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More Body Parts

MusicThis weekend's theme at CFNY Edge 102 is "body parts". They'll group together song titles and artists with a body part in the name. All weekend long, I've been throwing down my ten favourite songs with various body parts in the title. I've covered "hand", "face", "head" and "arm". As it turns out, I've already been down this road. I listed my favourite songs with "heart" in the title on Valentine's Day. Here they are as they were.

  1. Nirvana - Heart-Shaped Box
  2. The Tragically Hip - Boots Or Hearts
  3. The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
  4. Neil Young - Heart Of Gold
  5. Ray Charles - Unchain My Heart
  6. Stone Temple Pilots - Trippin' On A Hole In A Paper Heart
  7. Janis Joplin - Piece Of My Heart
  8. The Distillers - Beat Your Heart Out
  9. Rush - Closer To The Heart
  10. The White Stripes - I Want To Be The Boy To Warm Your Mother's Heart

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My Back Up Strategy

CDI have two digital collections I don't ever want to lose. One is my collection of digital photographs I've taken of my children since I got my digital camera last June. These are irreplaceable and I cherish each one. The second is my MP3 collection which has taken about eighteen months to get to this point. It's not just the files but the meta data embedded within that is now exactly to my liking. I employ a very strict back up strategy when it comes to these two collections.

For starters, both collections reside on two physical hard drives on my home PC. There's a copy on my primary drive and secondary drive. Hard drive failures happen and I'm ready. Next, I periodically back everything up on DVD and store the DVDs at an undisclosed location. If my home PC is stolen or destroyed, I can restore my new drive with the DVD back ups. In fact, I backed everything up earlier today. Finally, and this is a newly added component of my back up strategy, I'm going to keep a copy of these files on another PC that won't reside in the same building as my home computer. This is as insurance against the unliklihood that my home PC would disappear and the back up DVDs fail. Ya never know.

So, with a copy of every file on three different physical hard drives and two different PCs at two separate locations and another copy of every file on DVDs kept at yet another location, I sleep well at night.

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"Arm" Songs

MusicThis weekend's theme at CFNY Edge 102 is "body parts". They'll group together song titles and artists with a body part in the name. This got me thinking. What are my favourite songs with the word "arm" in the title?

The answer is below!

  1. Pearl Jam - Throw Your Arms Around Me
  2. Dire Straits - Brothers In Arms
  3. The Tragically Hip - Twist My Arm
  4. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Into My Arms
  5. Foo Fighters - Up in Arms
  6. Violent Femmes - I Held Her In My Arms
  7. Barenaked Ladies - Wrap Your Arms Around Me
  8. U2 - Tryin' To Throw Your Arms Around The World
  9. The Lemonheads - Into Your Arms
  10. Otis Redding - These Arms Of Mine

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My MP3s Updated

CDI've added 16 new CDs to my MP3 collection. Most are greatest hits compilations with a few jazzy gems thrown in the mix for those times I'm in a jazzy mood.

  • Leonard Cohen - More Best of Leonard Cohen
  • Aretha Franklin - 30 Greatest Hits (Disc 1)
  • Aretha Franklin - 30 Greatest Hits (Disc 2)
  • John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman - John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman
  • Eric Clapton - The Cream of Clapton
  • The Doors - The Doors
  • Prince - The Hits (Disc 1)
  • Prince - The Hits (Disc 2)
  • George Thorogood & The Destroyers - Thorogood Live
  • Curtis Mayfield - The Very Best Of Curtis Mayfield
  • Bill Withers - Lean On Me: The Best of Bill Withers
  • Sly And The Family Stone - Anthology
  • Cassandra Wilson - New Moon Daughter
  • Madeleine Peyroux - Dreamland
  • Various Artists - Divas of Jazz - Studio
  • Various Artists - Divas of Jazz

That's 709 complete albums, 10561 songs and 672 hours, 10 minutes and 31 seconds of tunage. Check it out.

If you want to peak behind the curtain and see how I do it, read this detailed account as to how you can rip your CD collection to MP3 like me.

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My Quote of the Week

Opening Quotes"God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh."
      - Voltaire

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Top Ten Search Strings

Top Ten Search StringsOn the first day of every month I post the top ten search strings from the previous month. These are the Google searches that referred people to this site. This month I was so busy, it took me until the fourth to get to this. Below are the top ten search strings for May 2005.

  1. family guy
  2. big shiny tunes
  3. wayne's world soundtrack
  4. toronto blue jays logo
  5. pearl jam
  6. homer simpson
  7. stewie
  8. big shiny 90's
  9. amber frye photos
  10. bill barilko

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"Head" Songs

MusicThis weekend's theme at CFNY Edge 102 is "body parts". They'll group together song titles and artists with a body part in the name. This got me thinking. What are my favourite songs with the word "head" in the title?

The answer is below!

  1. Rage Against the Machine - Bullet In the Head
  2. Soundgarden - Head Down
  3. Beck - Fucking With My Head (Mountain Dew Rock)
  4. Alice In Chains - Head Creeps
  5. B.J. Thomas - Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head
  6. Coldplay - A Rush of Blood to the Head
  7. Cypress Hill - Hole In The Head
  8. House Of Pain - Put Your Head Out
  9. Puddle Of Mudd - Heel Over Head
  10. The Offspring - (Can't Get My) Head Around You

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Molson Park in Barrie

Ticket StubTake a peak at the Molson Park venue page on Ticketmaster.ca. You'll see the Vans Warped Tour taking place there in July and Green Day playing there in August. They'll both be good shows because Molson Park is an awesome place to see a concert.

But wait a moment, didn't I attend the farewell concert at Molson Park? It was certainly promoted that way. The Hip said farewell to the grand ol' park and we departed with the memories. They were doing away with concerts because the land was being developed, or something to that effect, and the show was even dubbed "Last Bash in Barrie".

I think we were duped. It's two years later, and concerts are still being held at Molson Park. The value of my ticket stub has plummeted!

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"Face" Songs

MusicThis weekend's theme at CFNY Edge 102 is "body parts". They'll group together song titles and artists with a body part in the name. This got me thinking. What are my favourite songs with the word "face" in the title?

The answer is below!

  1. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan with Eddie Vedder - The Face of Love
  2. Dream Warriors - Wash Your Face In My Sink
  3. Soundgarden - Face Pollution
  4. Coldplay - God Put A Smile Upon Your Face
  5. Tom Petty - A Face In The Crowd
  6. 3rd Bass - The Gas Face
  7. Public Enemy - Game Face
  8. Rage Against the Machine - Without a Face
  9. Sum 41 - Angels With Dirty Faces
  10. Sloan - Can't Face Up

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Open Water

A Movie ReelOpen Water: 5.5 out of 10.

I should preface this mini-review by telling you that Taryn thought this was a really scary movie. I, however, didn't, and that's why I didn't score "Open Water" higher.

It's actually not a bad effort. It's shot minimalistic style, with few actors, nobody you've ever heard of, and a simple premise. In the vein of "The Blair Witch Project", it's anticipation and ambience that provides the eerie effect. It's sort of cool, but at the end of it all you're unfulfilled.

Depending on your tolerance for fear, you'll either find this chilling in "Jaws"-like fashion or "Back To The Beach" with motion sickness.

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

A picture of Homer Jay Simpson"I've come to hate my own creation. Now I know how God feels."

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"Hand" Songs

MusicThis weekend's theme at CFNY Edge 102 is "body parts". They'll group together song titles and artists with a body part in the name. This got me thinking. What are my favourite songs with the word "hand" in the title?

The answer is below!

  1. Soundgarden - Burden In My Hand
  2. Pearl Jam - Sleight Of Hand
  3. Public Enemy - Terminator X Speaks With His Hands
  4. Cypress Hill - Hand On The Glock
  5. Alanis Morissette - Hand In My Pocket
  6. The Guess Who - Hand Me Down World
  7. The Beatles - I Want To Hold Your Hand
  8. Johnny Cash - These Hands
  9. Ice Cube - A Bird In The Hand
  10. DAS EFX - Klap Ya Handz

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The Friday Five

The Number FiveMy favourite Poison songs

  1. Talk Dirty to Me
  2. Something to Believe In
  3. Every Rose Has Its Thorn
  4. Fallen Angel
  5. Nothin' but a Good Time

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumGeorge Mikan was 80. He was the "gentle giant" who a half-century ago brought fame and stability to the fledgling world of professional basketball and literally transformed the game.

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FamilyEvery parent thinks their children are the world's greatest kids. In fact, I used to snicker at parents when they beamed about how perfect little Billy is or how gorgeous little Sally is. It is in this light that the following entry may be seen as more than a little hypocritical.

My son, three year old James, is developing into a spectacular human being. It's truly starting to blow my mind. He's got a great sense of humour, he's very well spoken and polite, he's wonderful with his little sister and he's incredibly well behaved. Tonight, I took him to my softball game. We played catch before play got underway and then he was so damn good. I mean, he watched and cheered from the bench when I was at shortstop and conversed with me sweetly while I waited to step up to the plate. He was an angel the entire night.

I like to think that I can strip away a little of my parental bias and see James for what he's become. I like to think I can look at him objectively, love him no matter what but not view his every action as blessed perfection. I think I can and I still can't believe what a lucky son of a bitch I am.

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayThe Freaky Universe of McDonald's Advertising - Hilarious overview of the history of McDonald's advertising. You can even watch the commercials being critiqued. Great stuff from McDonaldland.

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More Uncovered Gems

VaultI recently uncovered some gems from my past and I've been sharing excerpts from the documents I found. Below are thoughts I jotted down on May 17, 1996.

After class I biked to Queen and Yonge for the grand opening of CFNY's new location. Shortly after twelve Sloan performed for an hour. It was great, I've always been a fan of Sloan and they rocked. On my way home I biked past a familiar face on Bloor. It was Taryn who I then dragged home with me to watch the third installment of "Journey Past Midnight". The selection of movies at theatres right now is dismal. I am being forced to go and see all the moves I was too busy to see in the winter, which isn't so bad. Last week we saw "Fargo" and this Tuesday we'll see "Il Postino". By the way, Detroit beat St. Louis in double overtime of game seven by a one to nothing score. They now play Colorado while Pittsburgh plays Florida in the East. Now I must quickly shower and get myself to work for my five to ten shift. In the words of the immortal Neil Young, "Keep on rocking in the free world!!!

Upon re-reading this entry nine years later, I had to Google "Journey Past Midnight" to find out what the hell it was. It turns out it was a sketch on "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" which was based on the premise that a multi-million dollar mini-series was being made about the show.

It's also worth noting that we never did see "Il Postino". In fact, to this day I've not seen it. I have, however, seen "Fargo" several times since then.

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Weekly MP3

MP3I share an MP3 from my collection every Wednesday. You have seven days to grab this week's MP3. Please right-click your mouse and select "Save Link As..." or "Save target as..." so you can download it to your PC before playing.

Urban Dance Squad - Deeper Shade Of Soul
It's June 1st, it's a beautiful 20° C outside and summer is just around the corner. "Deeper Shade Of Soul" is one of those tunes that gets me thinking about hot sun in the summertime. I don't think I could name another track from these guys, but their one hit is a keeper.

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The Incredible Shrinking Pie

HockeyOn February 16, the day this NHL season was officially cancelled, I wrote an open letter to Gary Bettman. At the time I was furious because there was a reasonable salary cap offer of $49-million on the table from the NHLPA that Bettman should have accepted. The NHL and NHLPA were battling over their slice of a very big pie and on February 16 Bettman decided we were better off with no pie whatsoever. As we enter the month of June I realize that even a die hard NHL fan like myself managed to fill the void. For a while, when Saturday nights rolled around, I instinctively migrated to the television for Hockey Night In Canada. Now, on a Saturday night, I don't even think about hockey. I've accepted the loss and moved on.

I don't follow the labour negotiation news as closely as I did earlier in the year, but I did read about ESPN ending contract negotiations with the league. That means the NHL has lost its only remaining U.S. cable TV rights holder. The pie keeps getting smaller and smaller and they're still fighting over the weight of their slices. Our game, our glorious game, may never fully recover. Bettman has to go, Goodenow has to go, and the NHL has to get a deal done. The alternative is unacceptable.

In February I was furious. Now, I'm just numb. My lack of passion on June 1st with regards to NHL hockey simultaneously shocks and frightens me. There's another open letter to Gary Bettman in me, but I just don't care enough to type the words.

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