September 2005 Archives

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayStewie Live - Tell Stewie what to do.

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Guest Blog Entry

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

Your choices for best Leafs are VERY surprising. You have a page dedicated to MR. BARILKO & he's not even in your top 5. How can that be? Frank Mahovlich - you're kidding. A good player but not in my top 15!

      Twins From Bolton

Admittedly, I found it very difficult ranking players I've only read about or seen in historical footage. I fell in love with the Leafs in the very early 80s when Rick Vaive and John Anderson were providing most of the offense. My Mahovlich ranking was based on what I've read and the opinions of others I trust.

As for Bill Barilko not making my top five, it's "best" Leafs and not "favourite" Leafs. Barilko is a legend for a single goal and one goal does not an all-time best make. This is why Paul Henderson is not in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

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The Friday Five

The Number FiveThe best Toronto Maple Leafs

  1. Darryl Sittler
  2. Dave Keon
  3. Ted Kennedy
  4. Frank Mahovlich
  5. Doug Gilmour

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My Flickr RSS Feed

FlickrI recently launched an RSS feed for this site which can be found at

It's worth noting that there is an RSS feed for my Flickr page as well. That file is found at

If you want to put together data feeds and services from web 2.0 applications with a very simple interface, I highly recommend Netvibes.

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayAlternate Trailer for The Shining - This is awesome.

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Our Other Anthem

CanadaNeil Young's "Rockin' In The Free World" is our other national anthem. It's both musically and lyrically worthy of this honour, and two events over the past few months have cemented its status as the song that unites.

On July 2nd of this year, Canada's Live 8 concert took place in Barrie, Ontario. Neil Young closed the show with three fantastic songs, ending with "Rockin' In The Free World". Joining him for this song were the other performers from the Barenaked Ladies to Blue Rodeo and The Tragically Hip. Here's a photo of Neil Young and Gord Downie singing this tune.

On September 19th of this year, Pearl Jam sang Neil Young's "Rockin' In The Free World" during their second and final encore of that night in Toronto, Ontario. Joining him on stage was none other than Bono of U2, creating a moment for the ages. Here's a photo of Eddie Vedder and Bono singing this tune.

It's an epic song of protest and thought provocation and it's ours. O Canada, keep on rockin' in the free world!

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My MP3s Updated

CDI've added 39 new CDs to my MP3 collection. Here they are...

  • Feist - Let It Die
  • Transplants - Transplants
  • Hayden - Live @ Convocation Hall (Discs 1 & 2)
  • Hayden - Elk-Lake Serenade
  • Ramones - Smash You - Live '85
  • Ramones - Loud, Fast Ramones
  • Sam Roberts - We Were Born In A Flame
  • Bif Naked - Essentially Naked
  • Headstones - The Greatest Fits
  • Gorillaz - Gorillaz
  • Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - So Far
  • Crosby, Stills & Nash - Greatest Hits
  • The Cure - Galore (The Hit Singles 1987-1997)
  • Odds - Singles - Individually Wrapped
  • Grateful Dead - The Very Best Of Grateful Dead
  • Peter Gabriel - Hit
  • Peter Gabriel - Miss
  • The Trews - Den Of Thieves
  • INXS - The Best of INXS
  • 54-40 - Radio Love Songs: The Singles Collection
  • Bryan Adams - The Best of Me
  • Earth Wind & Fire - Greatest Hits
  • Bob Segar & The Silver Bullet Band - Greatest Hits
  • Peter Frampton - Anthology: The History of Peter Frampton
  • Paul McCartney & Wings - Wingspan: Hits And History (Discs 1 & 2)
  • Chicago - The Very Best Of Chicago - Only The Beginning (Discs 1 & 2)
  • George Michael - Ladies And Gentlemen: The Best Of George Michael (Discs 1 & 2)
  • John Denver - Definitive All-Time Greatest Hits (Discs 1 & 2)
  • Dave Brubeck - The Essential Dave Brubeck (Discs 1 & 2)
  • Scorpions - Best Of Rockers 'N' Ballads
  • Scorpions - The Best Of Scorpions
  • Cher - The Very Best Of Cher (Discs 1 & 2)

That's 1013 complete albums, 14,817 songs and 40 days 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 I received the following entry earlier today.

Keep up that dream Mike. You just never know. I have been a long suffering Pittsburgh Penguin fan for some twenty years. Being from Ottawa it would be easy to jump on the Seanator's band wagon (I think not). I never gave up on my Penguins and all of a sudden with the roll of a lottery ball, I await this season like none before.

You never know how a season is going to unfold. Do not EVER give up hope. That parade will come someday and will feel mighty fine. Just as Red Sox fans found out.

      Mark from Ottawa

At least your Penguins enjoyed the ultimate success twice in the past 15 years. I'm a die hard Blue Jays fan and I've felt that high you feel when your team, the team you've invested blood, sweat and tears in, finally wins it all. It's unbelievable.

I will never forget those two nights in '92 and '93 when my Jays clinched the World Series. I'll jot down the details later. As for the Leafs, I'll keep hopin' and wishin' and prayin'.

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Revisiting My Reality Check

RewindI am not a rocket surgeon. I feel it's necessary to fully disclose this obvious fact at the beginning of this entry. On August 2nd, I published a Toronto Maple Leaf 2005 reality check. In this entry, I wrote the following: "It doesn't take a rocket surgeon to see we're in some serious trouble here...I think this is going to be a particularly painful season...there's a sad lack of skill here."

As I mentioned off the top, I'm no rocket surgeon, and August 11th, after we signed Jason Allison and Eric Lindros, I became rather optimistic. I really felt my team had a chance to finish second in the division, ride hot goaltending and that intangible Maple Leaf grit to the conference final when anything could happen. I started to believe again, as I do every year about this time.

It's time to revisit my reality check. I haven't seen a pre-season game, but I've read a great deal and I've listened at times. We're too slow for the new NHL. Our skill level is too low and our slow, plodding defensemen won't be able to stop younger, faster, better teams of which there are many. The realist in me knows it will be tooth and nail to make the playoffs. The fan in me has already planned the parade.

6 days, 23 hours, 25 minutes, and 1 seconds left. I can't wait.

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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.

Queen - We Are The Champions
This song is dedicated to the Raging Storm that blew away the opposition this season.

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Definitive Songs

MusicWe'll continue with another block of ten as I name artists and their definitive songs. We're knocking down ten a day, in alphabetical order.

  • Counting Crows - Mr. Jones
  • Cyndi Lauper - Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
  • Cypress Hill - Insane in the Brain
  • Eminem - Lose Yourself
  • Everlast - What It's Like
  • Fleetwood Mac - Go Your Own Way
  • Foo Fighters - Everlong
  • Godsmack - Voodoo

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Top O The World, Ma!

BaseballEverything came together last night culminating in a tidy sweep as we in Raging Storm won the RSPA Division Championship. Last year, we lost in the finals but this season we redeemed ourselves.

Good hitting and great defense is a deadly combination in slo-pitch. I don't have the exact scores at this time, but neither game was close. Next season, we move up to a more competitive division.

Awesome work dudes and dudettes. The core and dependable Raging Storm team members that shared sips of champagne last night were Greg, Kic, Engell, Neil, Jordy, Andge, Alex and Marc. Lets do this again in 2006!

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The Finals

BaseballTonight, we in Raging Storm leave it all on the field. There is no tomorrow. It all comes down to this.

Will I be sharing a song of victory tomorrow or the anthem of losers?

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Guest Blog Entry

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

This is a comment on your selection of songs that best represent the spirit of Canadian music. There are some songs & artists in that list that I have not heard. The ones below I like & love.

Canadian Railroad Trilogy - Gordon Lightfoot
Born To Be Wild - Steppenwolf
Suzanne - Leonard Cohen
Sleepy Maggie - Ashley MacIsaac
Signs - Five Man Electrical Band
Cinnamon Girl - Neil Young
Tom Sawyer - Rush
New Orleans is Sinking - The Tragically Hip
Rockin' in the Free World - Neil Young
American Woman - The Guess Who
Big Yellow Taxi - Joni Mitchell

However I would like to suggest:

Bryan Adams - Summer of 69
Our Lady Peace - Thief
Nickelback - Leader of Men

and many more. But if you ask me which is the one song that makes me think "Canada", it's "32 Down on the Robert McKensie" by Paul Gross.


I considered Bryan Adams, Nickelback and Our Lady Peace, but at the end of the day they fell short of this prestigious acknowledgment. The top ten and those that just missed are the cream of the crop.

I don't have that Paul Gross song but I have been thinking a great deal lately about songs that are clearly Canadian. "Canadian Railroad Trilogy", for example, is a song that rekes of this nation. Perhaps I'll jot down my list later today...

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Hipeponymous Cover Revealed

The HipHipeponymous is coming soon. Hipeponymous is a limited edition, 2 CD and 2 DVD box set from The Tragically Hip that hits stores on November 1 and the cover will look like this.

I own their entire catalogue, so I won't fork over this kind of coin for the two new songs, but I am intrigued by the DVD. "That Night in Toronto, a Film by Pierre & Francois Lamoureux" was filmed during their November 27, 2004 show after which I complained about the brightness in the ACC. If the DVD is as good as that show, I'll officially rescind that complaint.

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My Problem With Air Bud

MoviesA few years ago, I bought some Kellogg's cereal that had a DVD inside. The DVD was "Air Bud" and I put it away so that one day I could watch it with James. That day was this weekend as we all sat down to watch this Canadian movie about a dog that shoots baskets. Realizing I'm not the target audience, I enjoyed it because the kids liked it, and that was really all I was hoping for. There was, however, a fatal flaw in the premise that drove me nuts.

There's a moment during the final game when Buddy the dog is to compete in the game. They argue back and forth about whether this is legal and one argument is that this dog travels with the team and is therefore part of the team. After much debate, the ref agrees and allows this unorthodox occurrence because he can't find a rule that would disallow it. This is where I lose it...

The dog isn't enrolled in the school! I'm certain the first rule when playing basketball for a primary school is that you must be a student there. It's black and white: if you don't attend the school, you can't play for them in school sanctioned sporting events.

"Air Bud" is built upon deception.

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumDon Adams was 82. He was the wry-voiced comedian who starred as the fumbling secret agent Maxwell Smart in the 1960s TV spoof of James Bond movies, "Get Smart."

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Official Bootleg Download Experiment

HyperlinkI had a blast at the Pearl Jam concert and was lucky enough to witness first hand "Rockin' in the Free World" with Ed and Bono taking turns on the mic. It truly was one of those moments.

Back in August I wrote about Pearl Jam's decision to release 192 kbps non-DRM digital downloads of their live shows for $9.99 USD. Today, I decided to give this process a whirl and download a copy of my show.

I had to download an application that runs in Java, but it was very easy to use and it took me seconds to order the show from September 19, enter my credit card info and begin the download. The entire 259 MB download only took a few minutes and along with my 192 kbps non-DRM MP3s I got a number of high quality pictures like this one and liner notes / covers in PDF.

Had these not been DRM-free, high quality MP3s, I'd have taken a pass. The Tragically Hip offered a similar deal but they opted to make their MP3s available as 128 kbps MP3s. Close, but no cigar. Pearl Jam just seems to get it.

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The Monday Shuffle

iTunesEvery Monday I shuffle my entire MP3 collection in iTunes and list the first ten songs that play. Here are the ten tunes I heard today with a personal story about one of them.

  1. Walk Of Life - Dire Straits
  2. I Feel Alright - Screamin' Jay Hawkins
  3. High Priest of Turbulence - Terminator X
  4. Silent Night - Frank Sinatra
  5. Lonely As You - Foo Fighters
  6. Possibilities - Weezer
  7. Release - Pearl Jam
  8. Down - Blink-182
  9. Satan's Bed - Pearl Jam
  10. Paint It Black - The Rolling Stones

Back in 1987, there was a television show about the conflict in Viet Nam called "Tour of Duty". The first time I caught this show I was blown away by the theme song, "Paint It Black". My dad had the double album Hot Rocks on vinyl and I went to this record and "Paint It Black" over and over again. As time went on, I lost interest in The Rolling Stones, but to this day I still love that one track. The long forgotten "Tour of Duty" provided the spark and the fire burns to this day.

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Definitive Songs

MusicWe'll continue with another block of ten as I name artists and their definitive songs. We're knocking down ten a day, in alphabetical order.

  • Beastie Boys - Fight For Your Right
  • Beck - Loser
  • Big Daddy Kane - Ain't No Half-Steppin'
  • Blink 182 - Adam's Song
  • Bruce Springsteen - Born to Run
  • Bush - Everything Zen
  • Coldplay - Yellow
  • Collective Soul - Shine

Not all of the above were no-brainers, but I stand behind the full weight of my intricate analysis.

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Guest Blog Entry

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

I attended the Leaf/Canadiens game in Montreal last night. It was an entertaining game and it was obvious both teams are not used to the new rules.

Sundin and Tucker did not play, however it was evident that the Leafs need to become a great deal quicker if they want to compete in their divison. Lindros logged quite a bit of ice time however he is definitely out of shape.

Your dreams of a parade in Toronto this spring might be a bit premature Mike.

      Mark from Ottawa

It is when we stop dreaming, that we die.

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A Movie ReelSpellbound: 8 out of 10.

In "Spellbound" we get to know eight competitors in the National Spelling Bee and follow them as they aim for the title. It's a great documentary and you quickly see why it was nominated for best doc at the 2003 Academy Awards.

Often times fact is a hell of a great deal more interesting than fiction.

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Enhancements Implemented

ConstructionYou know that "to do" list we mentally keep of things to bang off as soon as other stuff dies down? I keep one, and it had a list of things to do to this web site as soon as other projects wrapped up. This weekend, I finally found the time to complete everything on my "to do" list.

One thing I've been meaning to do for a while is clean up the way navigation is handled once you're in the Archives. For example, if someone is viewing the entries from March 2004, I wanted it to be simple to visit the preceding or following months. Sure, the main menu has links for the home page and aforementioned Archives, but I've always envisioned a horizontal band along the bottom above the copyright information. I've now done just that.

When I recently edited the CSS to change his site from navy blue to this new greenish blue, I quickly realized that the "more" button I had beneath the entries shortcuts on the right hand side wouldn't change because it was an image. I made a note to myself to delete the image and replace it with something utilizing my CSS so when I change the colour scheme I also change that button. Done, and done!

At the top of all the archived news pages there was a heading indicating what month of archives you were looking at followed by a "To visit recent blog entries click here" statement. It was totally redundant and therefore unnecessary so I blew it away. I mean, c'mon... there's a link to the home page of the blog at the top of every single page.

Finally, I got rid of all back arrows that appeared on the bottom of every page. This was just an image of a blue arrow pointing to the left that, when clicked, invoked a javascript that read the previous page in your browser's history. It died for several reason. It was an image and therefore hard coded to be blue, it was a javascript and I'm simplifying the code wherever possible and it's unnecessary. If you want to go backwards in your browser, you've probably got an arrow in your browser's toolbar and if you don't you can click ALT + back arrow on your keyboard. It's your web and you're in control.

Otherwise, I just did some spring cleaning in September repairing broken links, ensuring each page validates, fixing typos and cleaning the source code. Exciting stuff like that.

Before you mutter to yourself that this was one boring entry, remember, these notes are really here for my benefit so I know what I changed and when I changed it. I learned long ago that the target audience for these notes and ramblings is yours truly. It certainly works as my recent note to self has reminded me that I have a new "Curb Your Enthusiasm" to enjoy tonight. Giddy-up!

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumThomas Ross Bond was 79. He played Butch the bully in the "Our Gang" and "The Little Rascals" serials of the 1930s.

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My Quote of the Week

Opening Quotes"And you know that she will trust you for you've touched her perfect body with your mind."
      - Leonard Cohen, Suzanne

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Definitive Songs

MusicLast month, I started listing artists and their definitive albums. I banged off ten a day until I hit ZZ Top. I'm going to do the same thing with the same artists, only this time I'm listing their definitive song.

  • 2pac - Dear Mama
  • 3rd Bass - The Gas Face
  • A Tribe Called Quest - Scenario
  • AC-DC - Shook Me All Night Long
  • Aerosmith - Walk This Way
  • Alanis Morrisette - You Oughta Know
  • Alice In Chains - Man in the Box
  • Barenaked Ladies - $100000000

Feel free to disagree with my choices. That's what makes this so fun. More tomorrow...

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New Pictures

New PicturesI've posted four new pictures in Pictures. We made Rice Krispie squares earlier today and Michelle got to lick the bowl. The result was a series of great photos...

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Not Bad For A B-List

MusicI recently posted ten Canadian tracks that I believe collectively epitomize the spirit of Canadian music. Getting that list down to ten was a serious pain in the ass, so here are some of the songs that were on the bubble and eventually fell to the cutting room floor.

  • Canadian Railroad Trilogy - Gordon Lightfoot
  • Home For A Rest - Spirit of the West
  • Let Your Backbone Slide - Maestro Fresh-Wes
  • Born To Be Wild - Steppenwolf
  • Four Strong Winds - Ian & Sylvia
  • Suzanne - Leonard Cohen
  • Sleepy Maggie - Ashley MacIsaac
  • Spinning Wheel - Blood, Sweat & Tears
  • Misguided Angel - Cowboy Junkies
  • Signs - Five Man Electrical Band

Not too shabby for a B-list.

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Guest Blog Entry

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


Soon. A wintery Saturday night. A bowl of chips and a cold one. Anticipating the tune on T.V. more well known to Canadians than O' Canada ... Nah nah nah nah nah! Optomism supreme for your favourite team (Go Leafs Go!) could this be our year? I miss the sounds of the home team scoring, the "ping" of a shot off the post, and the crash of a body check into the boards. I can't wait for it to begin again!



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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

A picture of Homer Jay Simpson"Well, if it isn't the leader of the wiener patrol, boning up on his nerd lesson."

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My MP3s Updated

CDI've added 23 new CDs to my MP3 collection. Here they are...

  • Sonic Youth - Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star
  • Ministry - The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste
  • Revolting Cocks - Linger Ficken' Good
  • Jane's Addiction - Ritual De Lo Habitual
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers - The Uplift Mofo Party Plan
  • The Beatles - White Album (Discs 1 & 2)
  • Sarah McLachlan - Surfacing
  • Various Artists - WaxTrax! Black Box: The First 13 Years (Discs 1 & 2)
  • Primus - Tales From The Punchbowl
  • Primus - Pork Soda
  • The Sisters Of Mercy - A Slight Case Of Overbombing
  • Mr. Bungle - Disco Volante
  • Aqua - Aquarium
  • Ace Of Base - The Sign
  • Manhattan Transfer - The Best Of Manhattan Transfer
  • Billy Joel - Piano Man
  • Sheryl Crow - Tuesday Night Music Club
  • The Eagles - Hotel California
  • Concrete Blonde - Boodletting
  • Britney Spears - ...Baby One More Time
  • The Bangles - Greatest Hits

That's 974 complete albums, 14,272 songs and 38.2 days 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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The Friday Five

The Number FiveMy favourite moments during Blue Jays games I attended

  1. James' first game, my first game ball (read more) (2004)
  2. Roy Halladay goes 26 outs with a no-hitter (1998)
  3. Skipping school to attend the final opening day at Exhibition stadium and witnessing a Jimmy Key 3-0 victory (1989)
  4. Being part of the infamous bug delay and this story (1990)
  5. Seeing Rance Mullinik's final career at-bat and hit (1992)

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Guest Blog Entry

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

Hey Mike,

I noticed you have plenty of Jays ticket stubs and wondered which -if any- was the most memorable Jays game for you. And although they're not going to make it into the playoffs this year, it was fun to watch them start the season atop the AL East, albeit briefly. Do you have any picks for the World Series?


I love your first question so much, my Friday Five today will be my favourite Blue Jay moments I saw live. Awesome question.

I believe it will be St. Louis vs. New York/Boston, whichever survives. I'm going with the Cardinals to win it all this year. In 2006, I predict a third World Series Championship for the Toronto Blue Jays.

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Popeye The Sailor Man

Thumbs UpSeeing an 88¢ bin in WalMart last June got me thinking about the old Popeye VHS cassette we used to watch. It featured "Popeye Meets Sinbad The Sailor" and "Ali Baba's Forty Thieves" and we just loved it.

This past weekend James, Steve and I were walking along Yonge Street checking out the music stores when I spotted a DVD featuring nine classic Popeye cartoons. Included amongst the nine were both "Popeye Meets Sinbad The Sailor" and "Ali Baba's Forty Thieves". There was no way I was going to leave without a copy so I picked one up and this week James, Michelle and I sat down to watch these vintage classics from 1936 and 1937.

James loves the constant duels between Bluto and Popeye and Popeye's sudden strength when he downs a can of spinach. I love the nostalgic value and seeing them through his eyes, not to mention the wicked comedy muttered throughout.

Here's the front and here's the back of the DVD. 75 years later, Popeye is still kicking ass.

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Thank You, Farley

SunI'd like to thank Farley, the Patterson's sheepdog who passed away a few years ago. It's no secret that I read For Better or For Worse every day and have since I was a very young lad. Lynn Johnston's strip has that perfect blend of realism, humour and Canadiana and the characters age in real-time enabling fans to literally watch the Patterson's age and grow.

Farley was a member of the family, always there. He'd play with Michael, Elizabeth and April, get into mischief and perform general dog duties. When April was four, we were witness to a heart wrenching story line that elevated Farley to martyr status. April was playing by the river and fell in. Farley jumped in to keep her above the water until help arrived. Farley saved her life, but the exertion and cold was too much for the old dog. His heart stopped and John ended the strip by saying "I didn't think that a heart so big would ever stop beating".

This story line might be my all time favourite in the series, and there have been some exceptional ones. Thanks again, Farley.

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Guest Blog Entry

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

Parade my ass. Another season of leaf fans hoping for the best but fearing the worst. Lucky to make the playoffs they will be. How about a count down clock until the season ends for the Leafs on April 18/06.

      The Grinch

Oh ye of little faith, did you not see highlights of our thrilling 5-0 win over Boston the other day? I'm 31 damn years old and getting older by the second. During my lifetime, my team has never played in a Stanley Cup finals. If Belfour stays sharp, Lindros and Allison stay healthy and the hockey gods shine down upon us, it could will happen. Mark my words...

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Take That, DualDisc

CDI've ripped 951 CDs with Audiograbber and only twice have I had difficulty. The first time was with the recent Foo Fighters double disc which I discussed in Foo Frustration. I managed to rip that sucker to MP3 thanks to software called AnyDVD and I wrote about that solution in Foo Solution.

Just last week I was stumped for the second time. Our Lady Peace's latest disc is a DualDisc and that spells trouble for rippers. Again, AnyDVD saved the day and I've got my music in the format I want them in so I can hear them where I want and how I want.

Take that, DualDisc!

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Sensational Semi-Final Sweep

BaseballI've just returned from our thrilling two game sweep over Hollywoods. We in Raging Storm played perfect playoff ball, playing tight D, carrying big sticks and overcoming Greg Fay's strike out.

The finals are next week against the Booty Pirates. You may recall we lost in the finals last year. It's redemption time.

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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.

Sarah Harmer - Basement Apt
I love this song. It's a sweet little Canadian number everyone can relate to. I saw Sarah Harmer open for The Hip in The Hammer and this was a definite highlight.

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Planning the Parade

LeafsI'm thinking we might take it east on Bloor to Yonge and then south to Queen and then to Nathan Phillips Square for speeches and celebration. I'm still tweaking the exact route, but that's one of my ideas. I'll wear my Barilko #5, Ryan has his McCabe #24 and Steve can don his Tucker #16. James can come too... hell, Michelle will be almost two years old, she and Zander should be there as well. If I close my eyes I can see the day. It's a lovely June morning with a warming sun and not a cloud in the sky. The 39 year drought is over.

The Toronto Maple Leafs' 5-0 exhibition win over the Boston Bruins last night was the catalyst for the planning of this parade. Jeff O'Neill, Ben Ondrus, Mariusz Czerkawski, Darcy Tucker, and John Pohl scored for Toronto. Ed Belfour and Jean-Francois Racine shared the shutout.

According to The Official Maple Leaf Countdown Clock, there is exactly 14 days, 9 hours, 59 minutes, and 25 seconds left until the opener. The Stanley Cup season of 2005/2006 begins...

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Laughable Liisa LaDouceur

NewspaperRelax fellow Pearl Jam fans, it's only Liisa LaDouceur. I've got a story that puts everything into perspective, don't you worry. You spent the morning following the concert reading reviews online and you saw Liisa LaDouceur's review from the Toronto Sun. It probably upset you.

LaDouceur makes a number of infuriatingly ignorant comments, far too many to tear apart here, and she closes her "special to the Sun" with this string of pearls:

You could call Pearl Jam timeless. You could also call them outdated. They've earned the right to be classic rockers, but even when they play their biggest hit, Alive, it doesn't feel like a classic moment.

Vedder certainly didn't turn up his performance a notch. (Although he did run to one side of the stage instead of just facing drummer Matt Cameron.)

It was just another rock song from by-gone era, back when Pearl Jam actually mattered.

For two and a half hours, Pearl Jam preached to a grateful flock.

Then at the end, they were upstaged by a man in a cowboy hat and tambourine.

Just because they can make a good living being serious, damned good players with a massive back catalogue, doesn't make them relevant in the outside world once the lights go up.

As Bono's presence only highlighted, they're certainly no U2.

Here's a little background information for you. During CBC Radio's "50 Tracks" earlier this year, LaDouceur was asked to respond to the fact The Tragically Hip's "Courage" was being nominated for inclusion as an essential Canadian song. She immediately trashed the entire band calling them nothing more than "hoser rock" and tossed them aside as "nothing special". Now, LaDouceur is writing that Pearl Jam is only relevant to "the drunken, university-aged crowd" that attend their shows. She has taken yet another soulful, rockin' band that continues to write and produce brilliant material and has tossed them aside as irrelevant.

As I said off the top, don't let this waste of ink get to you. It's just Liisa LaDouceur, the woman who despises all that is authentic and soulful and nominates Sweeney Todd's "Roxy Roller" as an essential song. Her agenda is clear and that doesn't make her relevant in the outside world once the lights go up.

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Guest Blog Entry

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

Is Dubya ready for Rita? I don't think so. She's getting stronger & by late this week we're talking about category 4. OUCH. The U.S. is in for another catastrophe. Bank on it.


It never rains, it pours.

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumSimon Wiesenthal was 96. He was the Holocaust survivor who helped track down Nazi war criminals following World War II, then spent the later decades of his life fighting anti-Semitism and prejudice against all people.

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New Ticket Stub

New Ticket StubI have added a new stub to my collection of Ticket Stubs.

My ticket from last night's Pearl Jam show is now on display in Ticket Stubs. I also added my aftershow pass.

No sir, the fun doesn't stop there. Because it was a Pearl Jam show, I also updated my tribute to Pearl Jam in Toronto with the setlist from last night.

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Guest Blog Entry

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

Vincent Furnier rules - during the early 70's in High school our English teach., Art teach. & Drama teach. loved Mr. Cooper's music. His lyrics are awesome. Many a Fridays the songs were played during class & that's when I get hooked. I have seen Alice 3 times (70's twice & early 90's) & he still has what it takes. He has overcome addictions which I thought he would be not around today. I have personally met him 3 years ago at a Golf Tourney (which he loves) & he has changed his life for the best. For now - Golf rules his life & he has played in many Pro-Am tourneys & done very well. He's Eighteen again & still Groovin.

      Anonymous (a child from the 70's)

She asked me why the singer's name was Alice, I said listen baby you really wouldn't understand.

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Pearl Jam: Rockin' in the Free World

Pearl JamMy two favourite bands live are The Tragically Hip and Pearl Jam. When James showed up, I made a decision to restrict my concert going activities to these two bands. I've been faithful to this rule ever since.

Last night, I saw Pearl Jam at the ACC. There's a long and exceptional story that precedes this fact, perhaps my very best story ever, but I can't and won't share it here. The culmination of these efforts was this comped ticket and this aftershow pass. On with the show...

Porch Unplugged - Armed with the knowledge Ed Vedder was performing an acoustic song by himself prior to the opening band on this tour, we were sure to be in our seats by 19:30 EDT. Ed didn't disappoint, taking a seat on his stool for a spectacular unplugged rendition of one of my favourite Ten tracks, "Porch". It reminded me of the MTV Unplugged show Pearl Jam did when they took "Porch" to a whole new level and blew my mind. This was a perfect opening.

Sleater-Kinney - Sleater-Kinney is one of those bands you've heard of, but really don't know. I listened with open ears and tried to enjoy their set, but I couldn't help but dislike it. It's not that I was indifferent, it's that I really hated their wall of non-melodious sound accompanied by annoying as hell singing. Imagine a cross between Geddy Lee and Grace Slick only really, really awful. How Sleater-Kinney managed to secure a record contract I'll never know. Perhaps it's the novelty of being a group of female rockers? An all male band with the same skills would never have made it out of the garage.

The Show - From the hypnotic opening of "Release" through the closing chords of "Yellow Ledbetter", this was an amazing show. Ed and the gang reminded me why they are the worlds greatest live act. The crowd was electric, even starting the wave before the opening number. Highlights included an emotionally charged "Better Man" which included what may be the loudest cheer in ACC history, manic guitar jamming on "Evenflow", a rip-roaring "Cordoroy" and a tender and beautiful tribute to Neil Young, "Harvest Moon".

This tour is not in support of a new album and is therefore hit-laden. You name it, we got it last night from "Alive" to "Rearviewmirror" to "Black" and "Jeremy". We got the disco ball for "Wishlist", the "WMA" tag on "Daughter" and a very special moment I'll elaborate on in the next paragraph.

Rocking in the Free World - During the first encore, Ed said some very kind things about Neil Young and performed "Harvest Moon" in his honour. Neil Young is another of my musical heroes, so this was a perfect salute. Then, during the second encore, just before the night ending "Yellow Ledbetter", Pearl Jam broke into their second Neil Young song of the night. We were blessed with "Rockin' in the Free World", a song I recently put on my list of ten essential Canadian songs. I love this damn song, and nobody covers it like Pearl Jam.

With "Rockin' in the Free World" bringing down the house, the house lights went on. The crowd was going wild, singing along and basking in the final glows of an all-too-perfect night. As if things weren't awesome enough, Ed was joined on stage by a special guest. It was none other than Bono of U2. Bono and Ed took turns on the mic for what seemed like an eternity and the entire place went nuts. It was a surreal moment and one that I'll never forget. At the conclusion of the song, the two exchanged a hug, Bono returned to his seat at the side of the stage beside The Edge and the band played "Yellow Ledbetter" with the lights still on.

May Pearl Jam never burn out or fade away. Thanks R.W.!

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The Monday Shuffle

iTunesEvery Monday I shuffle my entire MP3 collection in iTunes and list the first ten songs that play. Here are the ten tunes I heard today with a new spin. At the end of this list, I'm going to share a personal story about one of the ten.

  1. Remote Control - The Age of Electric
  2. Drinking in L.A. - Bran Van 3000
  3. Respect Yourself - Robert Palmer
  4. Unseen Power of the Picket Fence - Pavement
  5. Teenage Lament '74 - Alice Cooper
  6. Who Am I? - Lou Reed
  7. About A Girl - Nirvana
  8. Raspberry Beret - Prince
  9. Again - Lenny Kravitz
  10. How Does A Duck Know - Crash Test Dummies

Periodically, Taryn and I take a road trip to Ottawa. An album that always gets played during these trips East is Alice Cooper's Greatest Hits. "Teenage Lament '74" is always a favourite, demanding a sing-along. The reason Alice Cooper's Greatest Hits is in my collection at all is because of countless afternoon's at Joe's house blasting this record. There was much respect given to Vincent Furnier, all well deserved.

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Tonight: Pearl Jam

Pearl JamIt's September 19, 2005. If you were paying attention on May 28, I wrote an entry in which I alluded to the fulfillment of a dream this night that I will write about tomorrow.

Although I can't share many details, everything is falling into place quite nicely. This is going to be something special. Check back tomorrow for the details fit for public consumption.

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Guest Blog Entry

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

Since when did the President become POLICE of each and every city?

The fault in the evacuation of New Orleans lies solely within the hands of its Mayor and/or Governor. The President would be considered trodding on toes if he jumped in an demanded residents to depart a city that the Mayor insists is safe and sound.

Bush is being scapegoated in this case. AND in the case of the levees breaking. They have been outdated for longer than he has been alive, and with the war going on....would that be on your main entree plate???


That war is going on for all the wrong reasons, and only because he made it happen. Perhaps the levees breaking should have been on his main entree plate. As for Dubya being scapegoated, I challenge you to read this and this and write another Guest Blog letting us know if you still feel that way.

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My MP3s Updated

CDI've added 46 new CDs to my MP3 collection. Here they are...

  • Death Cab For Cutie - Plans
  • Kanye West - Late Registration
  • Sarah Harmer - All Of Our Names
  • Sarah Harmer - You Were Here
  • Our Lady Peace - Healthy In Paranoid Times
  • Our Lady Peace - Spiritual Machines
  • The Clash - The Essential Clash (Discs 1 & 2)
  • The Cult - Pure Cult, The Singles 1984-1995
  • Joni Mitchell - Hits
  • Jeff Buckley - Grace
  • The Pixies - Doolittle
  • Kid Rock - Cocky
  • The Game - The Documentary
  • Jay-Z - Reasonable Doubt
  • Jay-Z - In My Lifetime, Vol. 1
  • Jay-Z - Vol. 2... Hard Knock Life
  • Jay-Z - Vol. 3... Life And Times Of S. Carter
  • Jay-Z - The Dynasty Roc la Familia
  • Jay-Z - The Blueprint - The Curse
  • Jay-Z - The Blueprint - The Gift
  • Silverchair - Neon Ballroom
  • Silverchair - Freak Show
  • Scarface - Mr. Scarface Greatest Hits
  • Scarface - The Fix
  • 50 Cent - The Massacre
  • 50 Cent - Get Rich Or Die Tryin'
  • David Gray - Life in Slow Motion
  • James Blunt - Back to Bedlam
  • Classified - Boy-Cott-In The Industry
  • Handsome Boy Modeling School - White People
  • Lou Reed - NYC Man: The Collection (Discs 1 & 2)
  • Carly Simon - Anthonlogy (Discs 1 & 2)
  • Moby - Play
  • Various Artists - Women & Songs
  • Daniel Powter - dp
  • Geto Boys - Greatest Hits
  • Geto Boys - The Geto Boys
  • Led Zeppelin - Latter Days: The Best Of Led Zeppelin
  • Ol' Dirty Bastard - The Dirty Story: The Best Of ODB
  • Barenaked Ladies - Barenaked For The Holidays
  • Kenny Rogers - 42 Ultimate Hits (Discs 1 & 2)
  • N.E.R.D. - In Search Of...

That's 951 complete albums, 13,971 songs and 37.4 days 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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Television Note To Self

TVNote to self: remember to watch or record the following programs...

  • Curb Your Enthusiasm - Sunday's at 20:30 starting September 25 on TMN
  • No Direction Home: Bob Dylan - September 26 & 27 at 21:00 on PBS
  • Get Up, Stand Up: The Story of Pop and Protest - Starts September 28 on PBS

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Celeb Spotting in the T-Dot

BinocularsJames, Steve and I went downtown yesterday and spotted a couple of celebrities walking out streets.

First, while we left Sam's at Yonge and Dundas, we passed the guy from "Reel to Real". Movie buffs would know him if they saw him, trust me. Sure, it's not A list, and he's probably not B list, but he's a solid C.

Then, when walking along Bloor near St. George, we passed Colin Mochrie. Colin Mochrie is a solid B, right? I'd say so.

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Guest Blog Entry

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

Just wanted to let you know how great your blog is and to tell everyone to come out and run the Terry Fox Run Sunday September 18th. Hope to see everyone finishing what Terry didn't get a chance to. It's for a great cause. Mike and I are going to be at the Etobicoke site. Can't wait to get out there. It'll feel good.

      Pete K.

Next year, I'm participating in the Terry Fox Run. It's an awesome event for an exceptional cause in loving memory of a true Canadian hero.

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My Quote of the Week

Opening Quotes"Even if I don't finish, we need others to continue. It's got to keep going without me."
      - Terry Fox

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Introducing the RSS Feed

RSSI finally got around to creating an RSS feed of this blog. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and you can read all about it here.

You'll notice I opted for the orange "RSS" buttons (check beneath the Recent Entries list on the right) instead of the popular "XML" buttons. I followed the BBC's lead on this one because I've always felt the "XML" buttons were confusing. Sure, it's an XML document, but it's only ever used for RSS readers and news aggregators.

My feed is at

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OLP's Crappy DualDisc

CDI've got the new Our Lady Peace album "Healthy In Paranoid Times" and now I'd like to rip it to MP3. Once I have it in MP3 like the rest of my collection, I can hear it wherever I want in my iRiver and add it to playlists on my computers.

This cd is a DualDisc. That means one side of the disc is DVD which has high quality sound files but must be played in a DVD player and can't be ripped by my software and the other side has grossly inadequate sound files that play in a proprietary player and sound like junk when ripped with my software. This is the first DualDisc I've encountered and I hope it's the last.

Pearl Jam, a band I'm seeing Monday night, are releasing high quality DRM-free MP3s of their concerts the same night, a move I whole heartedly applaud as one that's extremely fan friendly. Our Lady Peace, meanwhile, is frustrating the hell out of this fan and leaving a sour taste in my mouth. I just want my music my way, dammit!

I don't yet know how the new album is, but I already doubt "Healthy In Paranoid Times" is worth the trouble.

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayNetvibes - Yet another useful Ajax site. A lovely complement to my last link.

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Thank You, Damaso Garcia

SunI'd like to thank Damaso Garcia. As a young boy attending my first ever game at Exhibition Stadium, the greatest thing in my mind was the grand slam. One swing, four runs on the board. At the time, I also felt the grand slam was a great deal rarer than it is now. Although I don't have the statistics on hand to prove it, I'm pretty sure they were less frequent in the early 80s than they are now.

Already a die hard Jays fan, I was so excited to actually see the team live. There was a moment late in the game when we loaded the bases. Damaso Garcia was at the plate, and I was hoping and praying for one thing. I wanted to see a grand slam.

I remember vividly what happened next. I can still feel myself sitting on that uncomfortable bench and watching him make contact. The ball was hit hard, I was getting my wish. It was deep to left field and... off the top of the wall. Garcia ended up on third with a bases clearing triple but for a couple of seconds I remember feeling like the luckiest kid in the world.

As I got older, I began to see grand slams and even saw a game at Exhibition Stadium in which three of them were hit, but that didn't dull the memory of Garcia missing a grand salami by half a foot. Thanks again, Damaso.

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

A picture of Homer Jay Simpson"All my life I've had one dream, to achieve my many goals."

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Civic Pride

CN TowerSuresh Joachim, a resident of Toronto, just broke the Guinness world record for the longest time spent watching TV. He finished today with 69 hours and 48 minutes.

We rule.

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The Friday Five

The Number FiveMy favourite "five" songs

  1. Five Long Years - Colin James
  2. The First Five Times - Stars
  3. Five to One - The Doors
  4. Five Long Years - Junior Wells
  5. Hawaii Five-O - Theme

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Mad Magazine Family Guy Spoof

StewieI happen to enjoy "Family Guy", but it's clearly inpired by "The Simpsons". Mad Magazine transformed the Griffin family into the Simpsons in their latest issue and you can check out the cool cover in this PDF.

During my drive to work I pass a billboard for Global TV with Homer Simpson, Peter Griffin and the father from "American Dad". As that Mad PDF states, it's the prime-time cartoon food chain.

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CalendarI just corrected a glaring error on this site. I've been time stamping every entry with the current Toronto time and using the abbreviation EST. EST stands for Eastern Standard Time, but Eastern Standard Time is replaced by Eastern Daylight Time in early April until late October. Whenever I use EST during these summer months I'm erring.

I've fixed the mistake throughout the site. It's currently EDT. Please accept my humblest apologies for my inadvertent spread of misinformation.

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the - Exceptional use of Ajax. IM users, try this! YIM and MSN peeps can find my usernames here.

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Thank You, Kevin Brereton

SunI'd like to thank Kevin Brereton, better known as K-OS. I'm thankful for the following:

  • My belief in the Canadian hip-hop scene has been restored. From Maestro to K-OS, there is substance once more.
  • Joyful Rebellion is a wonderful listen-through. It's a funky tour de force.
  • The lyric "Emcee, Tragically Hip Ahead By A Century" is perfect. There is nothing more Canadian and the lyrics prominent placement in a song of that magnitude is more than we could have ever hoped for.


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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayBest Reuters Photo Ever - The author of this note is none other than George Dubya Bush and he's writing it for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Yes, it's the Prez asking if he can take a leak.

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumRobert Wise was 91. He won four Oscars as producer and director of the classic 1960s musicals "West Side Story" and "The Sound of Music."

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Guest Blog Entry

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

Worth a mild chuckle at least.

      Mike H.

Yeah, I saw that making the rounds a few days ago and thought it was priceless. The Irish tell it like it is. Thanks to 9/11 and Katrina, two of the worst disasters on US soil in the past 50 years, some are calling Dubya The Disaster President. That's just perfect.

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Rust Never Sleeps

BaseballFinally, after a lengthy delay and first round bye, Raging Storm has a playoff series to play tonight.

It's been a while, and I'm not sure if the layoff is a good thing or a bad thing. I've been playing on Thursday nights so I'm not that rusty, but we've got a possible trifecta of games tonight and anything less than a victory won't be acceptable.

It's on.

Update @ 21:13: It's off. Their permit trumped our permit.

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The Leafs TV 13

TV13 regular season Toronto Maple Leafs games will be airing on Leafs TV this year. Leafs TV, of course, is pay-tv, and that means coughing up extra coin to Rogers for the privilege.

I pride myself in watching every Leafs game of the season, and without Leafs TV I'm guaranteed to miss a baker's dozen. Still, it's only 13 and I'm sure they'll be mainly west coast games. They're closer to forcing this die hard to subscribe, but they aren't quite there yet.

I wonder where the magic line is...

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Ten Canadian Tracks

CanadaThroughout the past week, I've been trying to assemble a list of ten songs that collectively epitomize the spirit of Canadian music. Pruning this list to ten hasn't been easy but I was up to the challenge.

Here are ten Canadian tracks that, to me, represent all that is right with Canadian music.

I'm An Adult Now - The Pursuit of Happiness
I don't think there's a more Toronto song than this one. This independent single was spun all the time on CFNY in the late 80s and I thought it was the coolest. Great lyrics, great raw sound and a great story. TPOH got a record deal and put out the awesome Love Junk, a cassette I played over and over again. In addition to a more polished version of "I'm An Adult Now", this album had stellar tracks like "She's So Young" and "Hard to Laugh". Why does this song more than any other remind me of my city? For a couple of years in my early 20s I worked at Dufferin and Dupont and lived near Yonge and Bloor. My route to work was a bike ride along Davenport to Dupont, and more often than not I'd see Moe Berg walking that street. There he was, taking a stroll in his city, and every time I saw him I heard "I'm An Adult Now" in my head.

The Weight - The Band
When Bob Dylan went electric, he called on The Band. I once heard a great quote attributed to Robbie Robertson when Dylan said he was going electric. Robertson wondered if there was any other way to go. "The Weight" is a fantastic single, practically perfect. This single is proof that Canadian artists are second to none.

Cinnamon Girl - Neil Young
Neil Young is the quintessential Canadian artist. He's a master of multiple genres, chock full of integrity, and both a critical and commercial success. "Cinnamon Girl" could be "Heart of Gold", "Down By The River" or "Helpless", but I'm going with "Cinnamon Girl" because it's just grungy enough to earn him the moniker "Godfather of Grunge". It's the impossible blend of raw elegance and it makes Neil Young not only an essential Canadian artist, but essential, period.

Underwhelmed - Sloan
Following the Seattle explosion in the early 90s, partly inspired by Neil Young's rockers, there was the Halifax explosion led by Sloan. These four became instant Cancon favourites with "Underwhelmed", another CFNY staple and a song that perfectly captures the slacker mentality of the early 90s.

Try - Blue Rodeo
"Try" might be the polar opposite of "I'm An Adult Now". They came out at roughly the same time in the late 80s and one was as pretty as the other is raw. I first heard "Try" during a grade school dance when the DJ played it for a slow number. It's a stunning composition that sounds as sharp today as it did then. It was sort of country, but not nearly country enough to repel. It was just a beautiful song about love from a Toronto band with heart. It was the epitome of Canada.

Tom Sawyer - Rush
I'm convinced you either love Rush or you hate Rush. There is no middle ground. My brothers and wife unanimously despise this band while my heart speeds up and I get goosebumps listening to Alex, Neil and Geddy. Like Young's "Cinnamon Girl", this could have been "Closer to the Heart", "Spirit of Radio" or "Fly By Night", but "Tom Sawyer" has those keyboards! Love them or hate them, Rush is the Canadian band that unites us. I once heard a girl on CBC say Rush was equally loved by all essential elements of Canadian living: hockey fans, farmers and computer geeks. 'Nuff said.

New Orleans is Sinking - The Tragically Hip
This song has been in the news lately for all the wrong reasons, but conduct a poll and you'll learn it's the most popular song from the most Canadian of bands. The Hip sing about Bill Barilko, Bobby Orr, Bobcaygeon and Toronto. They're unabashedly Canadian and "New Orleans is Sinking" is their anthem.

Rockin' in the Free World - Neil Young
The Soviet Union was breaking up and the Berlin Wall was coming down. Meanwhile, Neil Young, a Canadian legend who hadn't made much of a splash since the late 70s, released "Rocking in the Free World". It became an instant radio hit, a sing-along for 16 year old kids like me and gave Neil back his street cred. Best Canadian song of the 80s.

American Woman - The Guess Who
Without The Guess Who, would there be The Tragically Hip? Without The Guess Who, would there be a Rush, a Barenaked Ladies or an Our Lady Peace? These were the groundbreakers, the frontiersmen. When "American Woman" shot to the top of the charts, it represented a whole bunch of firsts. A Canadian band had released a bonafide smash hit that wasn't just awesome because they were from the Prairies but because it rocked. The Guess Who, with this success, paved the way for the success of Canadian bands to come and got many a youngun to pick up a guitar and jam in the garage on cold winter nights.

Big Yellow Taxi - Joni Mitchell
This song is not only infectious with it's catchy melody but it has a social conscious. When I think about Canadian music, I think about this combination. It's appealing to the masses while saying something significant. Another artist who got her start in Toronto, Mitchell took folk to a whole new level and helped the woman voice in rock get heard. If you don't like Joni Mitchell, there truly is something wrong.

The last time I shared a list of this nature, I got hit with a bunch of "what about x" and "how could you put y on there" emails. It's a very subjective list and this is my best crack at it. If you're up for the challenge, Share your ten with me and I'll post them.

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How Bush Blew It

USAWaaaaaay back in November 2003, I wrote an entry entitled "The Problem With Dubya". In this entry I listed the many things that frightened me about the American president, including the fact he seemed proud that he doesn't watch the news on television, read newspapers or read the news online. In "How Bush Blew It", a Newsweek post-Katrina analysis, we learn just how out of touch Dubya is. Below are some excepts.

President Bush knew the storm and its consequences had been bad; but he didn't quite realize how bad.

The reality, say several aides who did not wish to be quoted because it might displease the president, did not really sink in until Thursday night. Some White House staffers were watching the evening news and thought the president needed to see the horrific reports coming out of New Orleans. Counselor Bartlett made up a DVD of the newscasts so Bush could see them in their entirety as he flew down to the Gulf Coast the next morning on Air Force One.

How this could be-how the president of the United States could have even less "situational awareness," as they say in the military, than the average American about the worst natural disaster in a century-is one of the more perplexing and troubling chapters in a story that, despite moments of heroism and acts of great generosity, ranks as a national disgrace.

Read this thing. It's the scariest shit I've read in a long, long time.

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The Monday Shuffle

iTunesEvery Monday I shuffle my entire MP3 collection in iTunes and list the first ten songs that play. Here are the ten tunes I heard today with a new spin. At the end of this list, I'm going to share a personal story about one of the ten.

  1. Whatcha Do To My Body - Lee Aaron
  2. The Red Rooster - Howlin' Wolf
  3. Runaway - Linkin Park
  4. Black Steel In The Hour of Chaos - Public Enemy
  5. Is This Love? - Bob Marley and the Wailers
  6. Into My Arms - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
  7. Get Me Outta Here - Jet
  8. Play Dead - Bjork
  9. Shoot First - Custom
  10. Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) - Green Day

I was fifteen when I first became one half of a couple. It was your typical grade ten romance, full of peaks and valleys and destined to burn out after a year or so. She absolutely loved Lee Aaron's "Whatcha Do To My Body" and played that cassette all the time, lip syncing to the words and choreographing an entire dance sequence to the tune. It was one of two Lee Aaron hits that year, along with "Hands On". She was a rare Canadian rocker chick in a sea of Tom Cochrane's, Kim Mitchell's, Jeff Healy's and Geddy Lee's.

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Ladder 49

A Movie ReelLadder 49: 4.5 out of 10.

I found "Ladder 49" so utterly forgettable, I forgot to write this review yesterday despite the fact I watched it Saturday night. I'm tired of these formulaic flicks where you can predict everything that's going to happen. "Ladder 49" wasn't a particularly bad film, it was just entirely uninteresting. I was so bored.

Joaquin Phoenix's publicist deserves a huge bonus because I somehow regard him as a great actor despite the fact I don't remember really liking him in anything. Sure, he was good in "Gladiator", but maybe I like him because I miss his brother? He's definitely over rated, as is John Travolta who I've never liked except for a little gem he was lucky to be a part of called "Pulp Fiction".

What happened to all the clever writers in Hollywood? Methinks they've sold their souls for a piece of the back end.

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New Pictures

New PicturesI've posted four new pictures in Pictures. Earlier today, with the kids goofing around on the couch, I whipped out the camera and caught them mugging for the lens.

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Season 17 Starts Tonight

HomerFox isn't making us wait this year. For the past few years, the season premiere of "The Simpsons" has aired after the World Series. That has meant either late October or early November and that has meant the first episode has been the annual Halloween episode.

This season we're blessed with the premiere tonight. It's Season 17, which I still find difficult to believe, and as always I'm quite excited. No, "The Simpsons" tonight won't be as sharp or as funny as "The Simpsons" from ten years ago, but it still has its moments and it still gets me to smile and laugh.

The world needs laughter.

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Four Years Ago Today

WTCFour years ago today, 2,749 people were killed in Manhattan, 184 people died in Washington and 40 died in Pennsylvania as a result of the worst act of terrorism ever to take place on North American soil.

Last year on this day, I wrote a detailed account of what I remembered about September 11, 2001. In that entry, I stated my belief that you can't kill spirit. You can kill people, even thousands of people at once, but terrorism cannot destroy our civilization or threaten our way of life and the spirit upon which it is based.

What was once fear is now resilience. Freedom, equality and hope are bullet proof. We remember those who perished and realize we're stronger than we thought. You can't kill spirit.

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My Quote of the Week

Opening Quotes"I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees."
      - President George W. Bush

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The Polish Prince

LeafsThe Toronto Maple Leafs signed Mariusz Czerkawski to a one-year deal yesterday. This is yet another gamble in an off season of gambles. The Polish Prince has scored before, but apparently he was a healthy scratch for many games in Sweden last year. Ouch.

Czerkawski is here because he comes cheap. We signed him for half a million in the hopes that he can find his scoring touch again. Other recent Leaf gambles include Jason Allison, Eric Lindros, and to a lesser extent, Jeff O'Neill. If all four work out, this could be fun. If all four bust, this could be horrific.

According to The Official Maple Leaf Countdown Clock, there is exactly 24 days, 23 hours, 57 minutes, and 32 seconds left until the Maple Leafs opener.

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Common Ground

TVWhen James was Michelle's age, we shared a passion for The Simpsons. It was our common ground, the one show we both enjoyed and we'd watch episode after episode together. This hasn't changed, in fact, we have a date for the season premiere tomorrow night.

A different show has become common ground for James, Michelle and I. When the three of us are watching a little television together, it's usually a Sesame Street DVD. These suckers are pure gold, grabbing the attention of the three and one year olds while capturing mine as well. For one, there's the nostalgic value. This was my show when I was their age and it hasn't really changed all that much. I've written about the clever bastards as Sesame Workshop before. In addition to this nostalgic value, they litter these DVDs with celebrities parents will enjoy seeing. A recent DVD we purchased stars Jon Stewart and Conan O'Brien. That'll get my attention in a hurry. Finally, it's quality stuff. Good music, fun muppets and characters you love.

It's nice sharing common ground.

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Doing the Meme Right, 1993 Style

MusicThis morning, I listed the top 102 albums of 1993 according to CFNY and highlighted the ones I loved and crossed out the ones I hated. This was a spin on a meme and now I'll do it the way it was intended to be done.

The rules are simple. You enter the year you graduated from high school (that's 1993 for me) in the search function here and get the list of 100 most popular songs of that year. Then, you bold the songs you like, strike through the ones you hate and underline your favorite. You do nothing to the ones you don't remember (or don't care about).

1. I Will Always Love You, Whitney Houston
2. Whoomp! (There It Is), Tag Team
3. Can't Help Falling In Love, UB40
4. That's The Way Love Goes, Janet Jackson
5. Freak, Silk
6. Weak, SWV
7. If I Ever Fall In Love, Shai
8. Dreamlover, Mariah Carey
9. Rump Shaker, Wreckx-N-Effect
10. Informer, Snow
11. Nuthin' But A "G" Thang, Dr. Dre
12. In The Still Of The Nite, Boyz II Men
13. Don't Walk Away, Jade
14. Knockin' Da Boots, H-Town
15. Lately, Jodeci
16. Dazzey Duks, Duice
17. Show Me Love, Robin S.
18. A Whole New World, Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle
19. If, Janet Jackson
20. I'm So Into You, SWV
21. Love Is, Vanessa Willlams and Brian Mcknight
22. Runaway Train, Soul Asylum
23. I'll Never Get Over You (Getting Over Me), Expose
24. Ditty, Paperboy
25. Rhythm Is A Dancer, Snap
26. The River Of Dreams, Billy Joel
27. I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles), Proclaimers
28. Two Princes, Spin Doctors
29. Right Here (Human Nature)-Downtown, SWV
30. I Have Nothing, Whitney Houston
31. Mr. Wendal, Arrested Development
32. Have I Told You Lately, Rod Stewart
33. Saving Forever For You, Shanice
34. Ordinary World, Duran Duran
35. If I Had No Loot, Tony! Toni! Tone!
36. I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That), Meat Loaf
37. Slam, Onyx
38. Looking Through Patient Eyes, P.M. Dawn
39. I'm Every Woman, Whitney Houston
40. Baby I'm Yours, Shai
41. Come Undone, Duran Duran
42. I Don't Wanna Fight, Tina Turner
43. I'd Die Without You, P.M. Dawn
44. Whoot, There It Is, 95 South
45. Hip Hop Hooray, Naughty By Nature
46. Another Sad Love Song, Toni Braxton
47. Will You Be There, Michael Jackson
48. Comforter, Shil
49. Good Enough, Bobby Brown
50. What's Up, 4 Non Blondes
51. All That She Wants, Ace Of Base
52. 7, Prince and The New Power Generation
53. Dre Day, Dr. Dre
54. One Last Cry, Brian McKnight
55. Just Kickin' It, Xscape
56. I Get Around, 2Pac
57. Bed Of Roses, Bon Jovi
58. Real Love, Mary J. Blige
59. Here We Go Again!, Portrait
60. Cryin', Aerosmith
61. Cats In The Cradle, Ugly Kid Joe
62. What About Your Friends, TLC
63. I Got A Man, Positive K
64. Hey Mr. D.J., Zhane
65. Insane In The Brain, Cypress Hill
66. Deeper And Deeper, Madonna
67. Rain, Madonna
68. The Right Kind Of Love, Jeremy Jordan
69. Bad Boys, Inner Circle
70. That's What Love Can Do, Boy Krazy
71. Do You Believe In Us, Jon Secada
72. Angel, Jon Secada
73. Forever In Love, Kenny G
74. Again, Janet Jackson
75. Boom! Shake The Room, DJ Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince
76. When She Cries, Restless Heart
77. Sweat (A La La La La Long), Inner Circle
78. It Was A Good Day, Ice Cube
79. More And More, Captain Hollywood Project
80. How Do You Talk To An Angel, Heights
81. Rebirth Of Slick (Cool Like Dat), Digable Planets
82. What Is Love, Haddaway
83. To Love Somebody, Michael Bolton
84. Give It Up, Turn It Loose, En Vogue
85. Alright, Kris Kross
86. Check Yo Self, Ice Cube
87. Fields Of Gold, Sting
88. Ooh Child, Dino 89. Faithful w/ Go West
90. Reason To Believe, Rod Stewart
91. Break It Down Again, Tears For Fears
92. Nothin' My Love Can't Fix, Joey Lawrence
93. Three Little Pigs, Green Jelly
94. Livin' On The Edge, Aerosmith
95. Hey Jealousy, Gin Blossoms
96. If I Ever Lose My Faith In You, Sting
97. Anniversary, Tony! Toni! Tone!
98. One Woman, Jade
99. Can't Get Enough Of Your Love, Taylor Dayne
100. Two Steps Behind, Def Leppard

bold = Mike digs it the most!
crossed out = Mike hates it!

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My Personal Coming-Of-Age Film

MusicThe meme is out there, but Accordion Guy put a spin on it I dig so much I'm going to follow suit.

The challenge is to find the Top 100 songs from the year you graduated from high school, list 'em on your site, highlight the ones you like and cross out the ones you hate. You ignore the ones to which you're kind of indifferent. Accordion Guy did it with the CFNY year end chart from the year he graduated high school, and that's exactly what I'm going to do. It makes sense since that was my station in 1993 and there's a handy archive of old charts at The Spirit of Radio.

Using the Top 102 Albums of 1993 according to CFNY, here is the soundtrack from my personal coming-of-age film.

  1. *Smashing Pumpkins - Siamese Dream : An awesome, play-through, tour de force, even after the piss off.
  2. *Nirvana - In Utero : You mean, this wasn't CFNY's number one?!?! WTF, what an album. I remember heading straight from class to Sam's to pick it up on the first day of its release.
  3. Depeche Mode - Songs Of Faith And Devotion
  4. *Pearl Jam - Vs. : You mean, this wasn't CFNY's number one?!?! WTF, what an album. I remember heading straight from class to Sam's to pick it up on the first day of its release.
  5. New Order - Republic
  6. *Radiohead - Pablo Honey : The album that spawned "Creep", still one of my favourites of all time.
  7. Breeders - Last Splash
  8. Catherine Wheel - Chrome
  9. *U2 - Zooropa
  10. Porno For Pyros - Porno For Pyros
  11. James - Laid
  12. *Sarah McLachlan - Fumbling Towards Ecstacy : This is the album that made me fall in love with Sarah. Don't tell Taryn, but if Sarah decides she wants me, I'm there.
  13. Bjork - Debut
  14. Pet Shop Boys - Very
  15. *Rage Against The Machine - Rage Against The Machine : This album holds a very special place in my heart. It's definitely one of my ten favourite of all time and every time I hear it I get so excited it's embarrassing.
  16. Suede - Suede
  17. The The - Dusk
  18. Juliana Hatfield Three - Become What You Are
  19. The Cranberries - Everybody Else Is Doing It So Why Can't I?
  20. Lemonheads - Come On Feel The Lemonheads
  21. P.J. Harvey - Rid Of Me
  22. *Stone Temple Pilots - Core : And I feel it... Great album from a band that got an unfair rep for busting Ed's style. It's all good.
  23. Blur - Modern Life Is Rubbish
  24. Doughboys - Crush
  25. Adorable - Against Perfection
  26. Belly - Star
  27. Tea Party - Splendor Solis
  28. *Lenny Kravitz - Are You Gonna Go My Way?
  29. hHead - Fireman
  30. *Tool - Undertow
  31. Kate Bush - The Red Shoes
  32. *I Mother Earth - Dig : My brothers made fun of me for liking this band, but I had a "So Gently We Go" moment at a cottage that summer and a "Levitate" moment during a wall ball game. Two future blogs perhaps?
  33. Dinosaur Jr- Where You Been
  34. Jane Siberry - When I Was A Boy
  35. *Various - 1993 CFNY New Music Search : This was a very cool mix that introduced me to Hayden. I blab and rave about "Take" here.
  36. *Tragically Hip - Fully Completely : The best album from my favourite band. Nuff said.
  37. *Blind Lemon - Blind Lemon
  38. Verve - A Storm In Heaven
  39. Frank Black - Frank Black
  40. Trash Can Sinatras - I've Seen Everything
  41. Midnight Oil - Earth And Sun And Moon
  42. 13 Engines - Perpetual Motion Machine
  43. Dead Can Dance - Into The Labyrinth
  44. Curve - Cuckoo
  45. Revolting Cocks - Linger Ficken' Good & Other...
  46. Swervedriver - Mescalhead
  47. Eric's Trip - Love Tara
  48. Wonder Stuff - Construction For The Modern Idiot
  49. Primus - Pork Soda
  50. *R.E.M - Automatic For The People : An album I dig for the haunting "Drive" and the introspective "Everybody Hurts".
  51. Concrete Blonde - Mexican Moon
  52. Front 242 - :06:21:03:11 Up Evil
  53. Matthew Sweet - Altered Beast
  54. Urge Overkill - Saturation
  55. Cocteau Twins - Four Calendar Cafe
  56. *Soul Asylum - Grave Dancer's Union : A play through that Taryn and I played all the time during our brief dating period.
  57. Spirit Of The West - Faithlift
  58. World Party - Bang!
  59. *Cracker - Kerosene Hat : Damn "Low" is a cool tune. This is another of my wall ball tunes.
  60. New Fast Automatic Daffodils - Body Exit Mind
  61. Odds - Bedbugs
  62. (missing)
  63. Jesus Jones - Perverse
  64. Beloved - Conscience
  65. Cranes - Jewel
  66. The Watchmen - McLaren Furnace Room
  67. The Fall - Infotainment Scan
  68. Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet - Sport Fishin'
  69. Ned's Atomic Dustbin - Are You Normal?
  70. Hothouse Flowers - Songs From The Rain
  71. Mystery Machine - Glazed
  72. INXS - Full Moon Dirty Heart
  73. Mighty Mighty Bosstones - Don't Know How To Party
  74. Hunters & Collectors - Cut
  75. House Of Love - Audience With The Mind
  76. Daniel Lanois - For The Love Of Wynona
  77. Tears For Fears - Elemental
  78. Acid Test - Drop
  79. Sting - Ten Summoner's Tales
  80. Paul Weller - Wildwood
  81. Stereo MCs - Connected
  82. Ocean Blue - Beneath The Rhythm And Sound
  83. Revolver - Cold Water Flat
  84. Rose Chronicles - Dead And Gone To Heaven
  85. Waterboys - Dream Harder
  86. Machines Of Loving Grace - Concentration
  87. Bad Religion - Recipe For Hate
  88. *Crash Test Dummies - God Shuffled His Feet
  89. Peter Gabriel - Us
  90. Cowboy Junkies - Pale Sun, Crescent Moon
  91. UB40 - Promises & Lies
  92. Crash Vegas - Stone
  93. Dada - Puzzle
  94. Teenage Fanclub - Thirteen
  95. Moxy Fruvous - Bargainville
  96. Mae Moore - Bohemia
  97. Various - Stone Free
  98. Buffalo Tom - Big Red Letter Day
  99. *Various - Sweet Relief : "Crazy Mary" is one of my l0 tracks. Throw in that cool Soul Asylum tune and I'm in!
  100. Rymes With Orange - Peel
  101. Redd Kross - Phaseshifter
  102. Pursuit Of Happiness - The Downward Road

bold = Mike digs it the most!
crossed out = Mike hates it!
* = In my collection

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayNew Orleans Flood in Toronto - This map shows the size of the disaster by comparing it to our city. The flood, overlayed on the big smoke, would go from Warden to Jane and as North as the 401. That's almost the entire city.

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

A picture of Homer Jay Simpson"First you gotta shriek like a woman, then keep sobbing till he turns away in disgust. That's when it's time to kick some ass."

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayGeorge Bush Don't Like Black People - A wicked protest song based on Kanye West's infamous "George Bush doesn't care are about black people" quote.

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The Friday Five

The Number FiveMy favourite Jim Carrey movies

  1. The Truman Show
  2. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  3. Man on the Moon
  4. Me, Myself & Irene
  5. The Cable Guy

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Guest Blog Entry

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

Re: Canadian search and rescue team arriving before the military.

Has anyone heard CNN mention this? Did I miss something? Maybe I did miss it - We'll give them the benefit of the doubt. I heard about it on CTV news.


I think it's a very cool story deserving of wall-to-wall coverage on CNN.

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Guest Blog Entry

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

Just thought you'd enjoy this. :)

      Mike H.

That there's some good stuff. Funny and accurate. 2 for 1!

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Essential Canadian Music

MusicI decided to start tagging the music I listen to on my page, powered by Audioscrobbler. The first tag I created was entitled "Canadian" and I applied it to every artist I've listened to on my computer since May 2004 that was Canadian. By the time I was done, I had tagged 148 artists and you can see this list here.

This practice got me thinking about Canadian artists and that got me thinking about essential Canadian artists and songs. Naturally, I started making lists. Prepare yourself for what I believe to be the top ten essential Canadian artists and songs. Consider yourself warned.

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Canadian Search-and-Rescue Success

CanadaI love Reuters articles like this.

A Canadian search-and-rescue team reached a flooded New Orleans suburb to help save trapped residents five days before the U.S. military, a Louisiana state senator said on Wednesday.

The Canadians beat both the Army and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. disaster response department, to St. Bernard Parish east of New Orleans, where flood waters are still 8 feet deep in places, Sen. Walter Boasso said.

"Fabulous, fabulous guys," Boasso said. "They started rolling with us and got in boats to save people."

"We've got Canadian flags flying everywhere."

Feel the pride.

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Guest Blog Entry

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

Toronto's radio stations are going to be going through major changes in the next while (from an inside source) as certain stations - Chum FM, Q107 & even Jack 92.5 have dominated the FM dial for the past few years. Other stations are taking notice & the changes have begun with Fred Patterson being let go from The Edge 102. Watch for changes at Mix 99.9, EZ Rock 97.3 & even the dominant CHUM FM 104.5 during the next while. This should be exciting - the mighty Q's John Derringer is the best morning man, even though their music is starting to annoy me even though my fave song of ALL time was #1 this weekend on their top 107 songs of all time - Comfortably Numb.

      twins from bolton

Fred Patterson was canned from Mix 99.9, not Edge 102. Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I liked John Derringer. He was hosting the 5:00 Rock Report on Q and I was a fan. Then, he just started to annoy me. I simply can't listen to him at all any more. In my humble opinion, the best morning shows you can get from Toronto are Howard Stern's show on Buffalo's 92.9 and Andy Barrie on 99.1. Then, there's always good ol' CFNY Edge 102, but strictly for the music.

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Should They Play Photograph?

MusicFor a new rock station that claims to have edge, CFNY Edge 102 sometimes picks a song to spin that doesn't make any sense to me. Currently on high rotation when it has no business being on the station is Nickelback's "Photograph".

First, I should fully disclose my relationship with Nickelback. Following their release of "The State", I was a very big fan. "Breathe", "Old Enough" and "Worthy To Say" were top notch tunes and rocked. I was excited when I got a chance to see them on the small stage at Molson Park during an Edgefest and I returned the next year to see them close the show on the big stage.

"How You Remind Me" was the song that altered Nickelback's path. It was really, really poppy and sounded as much at home on CHUM-FM as it did on CFNY Edge 102. It ended 2002 as the most played song of the year on North American radio. Then, the following album contained a cover version of "How You Remind Me" called "Someday", and Nickelback consummated their marriage to pop-rock ballads that soccer moms dig. Their new "How You Remind Me Of Someday" is "Photograph", and it's not rock. It's not even a cool rock ballad like Green Day's "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" or Staind's "Outside". It's just a cheesy ballad produced for mass appeal and commercial objectives.

This is why I find it puzzling that CFNY Edge 102 has embraced it so. Is it because the band is Canadian? Is it because they played previous Nickelback songs? Is it because their audience really likes "Photograph"?

"Photograph" is the new "The Reason". Actually, it's not nearly that bad. Compared to "The Reason", "Photograph" is "Smells Like Teen Spirit". That's frightening.

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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.

Leonard Cohen - Hallelujah
I've shared Jeff Buckley's cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" and K-OS and Nick Cave's similar Hallelujah's. This week, I'm closing out our tribute to this Canadian classic with Cohen himself singing his excellent "Hallelujah".

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Vinnie D.

NHLFor a period of time in the late 80s, Vincent Damphousse was the best Leaf on the ice. Other than the often injured Wendel Clark and the inconsistent Gary Leeman, he was the best Leaf this side of Eddie Olczyk.

Against all odds, Vincent Damphousse was named the MVP of the 42nd NHL All-Star Game after scoring four goals for the Campbell Conference in its 11-5 win at Chicago. The four goals tied an NHL All-Star Game record shared by Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux.

Today, Damphousse announced his retirement from the NHL. He retires with the 27th most points in Maple Leafs history with 329. Farewell #25.

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Hey Now, Hey Now...Don't Dream It's Over

CarThis morning, with my automobile running on fumes, I was forced to fill the gas tank. My lifelong streak of never paying more than 99.9¢ a litre for regular unleaded gasoline has come to a resounding halt. Today, I paid 122.4¢ at the pumps.

That's over 20% more than I had ever paid previously. I'm not yet a senior citizen, but I have an old timer tale to share. For a period of time in the early 90s, I drove a 1985 Ford Escort hatchback. I managed to drive this car for years without ever paying more than 50¢ a litre to fill 'er up. I still remember when I first paid more than a half buck a litre and how disappointed I was.

122.4...I miss the good old days.

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumBob Denver was 70. His portrayal of goofy castaway Gilligan on the 1960s TV show "Gilligan's Island," made him an iconic figure to generations of TV viewers.

As an adult, "Gilligan's Island" was painful to watch, but as a kid I thought it was pure gold. Good bye little buddy.

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Humble Sans Fred

RadioI've written about Humble & Fred before. For over a decade the Humble and Fred Show, mornings on CFNY Edge 102, was the radio program to which I awoke. I stopped listening when they moved to the short-lived Mojo 640 and haven't heard a peep out of them since they moved to Mix 99.9 a couple of years ago.

Having said that, I was sad to learn today that Fred Patterson has been fired. Mediocre ratings led to this move and now the Humble Howard Morning Show is sans Fred.

It's been years since I've heard them, but I'll miss The Humble and Fred Show. Geeks that groove.

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Jerry Rice

NFLI don't remember an NFL without Jerry Rice. For the past twenty seasons he's been one of the most exciting players, a huge part of the Montana and Young San Francisco 49er dynasties of the 80s and 90s.

A two-time NFL Player of the Year, Rice holds just about every league record for wide receivers, including 1,549 receptions, 22,895 receiving yards and 197 touchdowns. He also holds the record for total touchdowns with 208.

Perhaps the best wide receiver of all time, Rice deserves our supreme props.

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayBill Mahar on Katrina - Mahar always makes me laugh. He's puts a humourous slant on a humourless situation.

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The Monday Shuffle

iTunesEvery Monday I shuffle my entire MP3 collection in iTunes and list the first ten songs that play. Here are the ten tunes I heard today.

  1. Lounge Act - Nirvana
  2. Land of the Living - Bush
  3. Fashion - David Bowie
  4. Sibling Rivalry - The Simpsons
  5. Stereo - The Watchmen
  6. Worried Man Blues - Woody Guthrie
  7. Ramblin' Man - The Allman Brothers
  8. Bounce - System of a Down
  9. I Got Shit - Pearl Jam
  10. Steppin' to the A.M. - 3rd Bass

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New Pictures

New PicturesI've posted four new pictures in Pictures. All are from our trip earlier today to Grandma's house.

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New Pictures

New PicturesI've posted four new pictures in Pictures. All are from the big trip to British Columbia.

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Napoleon Dynamite

A Movie ReelNapoleon Dynamite: 6 out of 10.

Is it possible I'm just too old for "Napoleon Dynamite"? I had heard great things and settled down to watch what has become somewhat of a cult classic. I was disappointed. I just wasn't very funny. In fact, it's rather slowly and a little boring.

The best part of this movie is the fact it takes place in the present day but is essentially an homage to the 80s. Every time music is played, it's either on a cassette tape deck or a Sony Walkman. If a video is to be played, it's a VHS tape in one of those really old top loading VCRs. The songs we hear throughout the flick are from Alphaville or Cyndi Lauper. The retro 80s aspect was pretty cool.

I'm sure I'll hear it from the kiddies who will tell me I'm insane for not absolutely loving "Napoleon Dynamite". I'm sure I'm missing something, but what is it? Do tell...

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Mighty Decline

U of TThe University of Toronto Varsity Blues lost their 25th consecutive football game yesterday, a streak going back four years. How the hell did that happen?

During my first year at the University of Toronto, we had an exceptional football team. It was 1993 and Mario Sturino was leading the Varsity Blues to a Yates Cup victory. I remember the buzz and following the team very closely.

How the mighty have fallen. Ouch.

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Definitive Albums

CDWe'll continue with our final block as I name artists and their definitive albums. This is it!

  • Weezer - The Blue Album
  • Whale - We Care
  • White Zombie - La Sexorcisto: Devil Music, Vol. 1
  • Willie Nelson - Red-Headed Stranger
  • Wu-Tang Clan - Enter the 36 Chambers
  • Wreckx-N-Effect - Hard Or Smooth
  • Wyclef Jean - The Carnival
  • ZZ Top - Eliminator

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumWilliam H. Rehnquist was 80. He was a Chief Justice on the American Supreme Court where he served for 33 years.

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My Quote of the Week

Opening Quotes"The river rose all day
The river rose all night
Some people got lost in the flood
Some people got away alright
The river have busted through clear down to Plaquemines
Six feet of water in the streets of Evangelne

Louisiana, Louisiana
They're tryin' to wash us away"
      - Randy Newman, Louisiana

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My Link of the Day

Mike's Link of the DayMr. Bill's Campain to Save Coastal Louisiana - On Good Morning America the other day, Dubya said "I don't think anyone could have anticipated the breach of the levees." The web is full of solid links to reputable publications that accurately predict exactly what happened. Then, there's this Mr. Bill movie from 2004.

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Experiencing the iTunes Music Store

iTunesPrior to today, I had never purchased a digital music file online. I still haven't purchased a digital music file, but I have gone through the iTunes Music Store purchasing experience thanks to a free iTunes song card Taryn brought home from the Gap.

I already use iTunes to listen to my MP3s, so redeeming the card was very, very easy. Apple makes it effortless to peruse their library of tunes for sale, review the current top 100 and even check out celebrity playlists. First I searched for Gord Downie's "Hallelujah" from "Saint Ralph" but iTunes didn't carry it. Then, I checked out the new releases and saw Maestro Fresh-Wes' "Urban Landmark (1989-2005)" with his cover of Gowan's "A Criminal Mind". The Maestro would be my first download.

Downloading the track was really easy and the digital file went into C:\Documents and Settings\My Account Name\My Documents\My Music\iTunes\iTunes Music\Gowan, Infinite & Maestro\Urban Landmarks 1989-2005\. Here is where I lose my positive buzz about the whole iTunes experience. The bit rate is a mere 128 kbps, and worse, the file type is an Apple proprietary M4P. If your player can't read M4P, you're SOL unless you jump through a few hoops to convert the file to MP3. My entire collection is currently comprised of DRM-free MP3 files, except for the one track I downloaded from iTunes. Pity.

iTunes isn't for me, but for your average iPod wearing, iTunes using dude, it's ideal. I'm still surprised by how easy it was for me to create an account, peruse the available tracks and albums and grab a tune I was interested in. Hopefully, a few pennies found their way into Maestro's pocket. I've been a fan since "Let Your Backbone Slide" and "Criminal Mind" is a good tune.

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Guest Blog Entry

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

It's hard to believe, but I think I'm about to defend George W. Bush. Well, sort of. If one takes a step back for a moment, do any of us really think that the situation would have been any different if John Kerry had won the election? Or Al Gore? Do we honestly think that had Katrina happened when Bill Clinton was in office that this wouldn't be just as bad? This disaster represents a failure not of the republican party, but of the U.S. Government and frankly of U.S. society as a whole.

I just hope that voter's memories are as short as they usually are or this tradgedy is going to be an election issue that has absolutely no right to be.

      Mike H.

Take a moment to read this. Then, feel free to change your opinion of Dubya. It's time this man is held accountable for the consequences of his actions and failures to act.

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Definitive Albums

CDWe'll continue with another block of ten as I name artists and their definitive albums. We're knocking down ten a day, in alphabetical order.

  • The Watchmen - In The Trees
  • The White Stripes - White Blood Cells
  • The Who - Who's Next
  • Tom Cochrane - Mad Mad World
  • Tom Petty - Full Moon Fever
  • Tori Amos - Little Earthquakes
  • U2 - The Joshua Tree
  • Van Halen - 1984
  • Van Morrison - Moondance
  • Violent Femmes - Violent Femmes

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Guest Blog Entry

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

I am wondering if you or any of your readers have thoughts on this news article about Hugues Cormier withdrawing for the leadership of the Parti Quebecois on Friday after being suspended from his job for soliciting psychiatric patients.


Admittedly, I haven't been following the Parti Québécois leadership race very closely. I don't know Hugues Cormier, but I just read in the Globe that he told Radio-Canada yesterday that he had asked approximately 30 mental patients to become PQ members and support his leadership bid. He confirmed that some of the patients were heavily handicapped. In my books, that's a no-no.

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Guest Blog Entry

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

I agree with anonymous however I disagree that Bush dropped the ball. I don't believe he carried the ball in the first place. This is totally unbelievable from a country with the resources of the United States. My big fear as well is that The United States is exposing its weaknesses to terrorists. It is showing them that the US security is vulnerable.

One other point. Would they have been slow to react if there were white people waiting on roofs in Kennebunkport Maine after a hurricane tragedy.

I know you are waiting for me to end this blog with Go Sens Go, however I have been a Penguin fan for over 20 years. Sens fans I must admit really don;t know that much about hockey.

      Mark from Ottawa

Ladies and Gentlemen, Mark from Ottawa has spoken the unspeakable that everyone is thinking but nobody dares to say aloud. Actually, that's no longer true. Kanye West, during a live benefit show on NBC, said the following. "George Bush doesn't care about black people...America is set up to help the poor, the black people, the less well-off as slow as possible."

Racism certainly played a role. Watching the footage of people outside the Superdome and Convention Center, every face was black. This is partly what infuriated me this past week. I don't believe the response would have been as slow if the masses in need of aid were lighter skinned. Racism in the American South has always been an issue, and this week it was exposed for the world to see. Condoleezza Rice can deny that race was a factor all she likes, but I don't think anyone's buying it.

What did New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin say the other day? "Now get off your asses and do something, and let's fix the biggest goddamn crisis in the history of this country." You're right Mark, the grossly incompetent Dubya never had the ball to drop. His offenses are legion. It's time to update his resume. This is the least funny joke in the history of the world.

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Homer Simpson's Quote of the Week

A picture of Homer Jay Simpson"Marge, can we go home? All this fresh air is making my hair move and I don't know how long I can complain."

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Guest Blog Entry

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

I cannot believe what I just read from Kristyn regarding the situation in New Orleans & the rest of the Gulf coast. Imagine if this would happen to good ole TO. She is totally disillusional with her thoughts & perception of the rest of the world. We (as the U.S.) live in a country where we are fortunate to have the necessities of life (water, food & shelter) & when catastrophies like this happen we depend on our leaders to help out in these times of need. The U.S. dropped the ball & this has been recognized by other country's trying to help when the Prez says they can look after the situation themselves without foreign aid. It's TOO late Mr. Bush as people have died & are dying needlessly. Kristyn - you are the one that's warped - SORRY!! P.S. it's 2005 not 1900.


Kristyn, do you wish to defend your insane stance or is it time to repent? Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich had the quote of the day. "I think it puts into question all of the Homeland Security and Northern Command planning for the last four years, because if we can't respond faster than this to an event we saw coming across the Gulf for days, then why do we think we're prepared to respond to a nuclear or biological attack?" And in a very rare moment of honesty, here's Dubya's response when asked how the richest country on Earth could not meet the needs of its people. "I am satisfied with the response. I am not satisfied with all the results."

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Guest Blog Entry

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

Kristyn L. - get a life. Your guest blog below seems to be from some bleeding heart person who has NO concept of reality. The message most are trying to convey is that being a 1st world country (the U.S.) it took 4 days to help their own people, not worrying about other countries (which live aid & live 8 tried to help). The G8 summit this past July will hopefully help in YOUR concern of other countries (3rd world) but the PROBLEM today is in the United States' own backyard & there was minimal aid during the first 3 days. Drive to the mall, watch your TV but make sure YOU donate to the Red Cross a little something for the people of the Gulf coast. You have to get a &$#@%*! grip on life.

      Twins From Bolton

Yeah, I let Kristyn L. have it below. She's entitled to her opinion, even if it's dead wrong.

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Guest Blog Entry

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

Well it seems that I also have a strong opinion of the situation in New Orleans. Yes, what is happening is horrible, tragic and will forever leave an impact on the lives of those who have survived it but I am so damn tired of hearing people complain about how the government isn't doing enough to help the people suffering right now. I realize they are in need of clean water, food, clothing, shelter and some kind of protection from the looters and "hoodlums" that have taken over the area. All that is obvious. But to complain that nothing is being done or that everything is happening too slowly is absolutely maddening.

The populations of First World Nations are ridiculously spoiled. There are areas of the world that NEVER have reliable access to uncontaminated water, where starvation is a daily part of life, where a roof that ISN'T made of thatch is an absolute sign of luxury and where the ONLY order is that held up by warlords who rape and kill whenever they see fit. I understand that waiting a few days, even weeks for food and water to be brought in is incredibly difficult but for entire societies to live with these problems for generations is the real tragedy.

I realize that I myself am a hypocrite for saying these things and then turning back to my TV or driving to the mall in my car but seriously, to all those freaking out over the situation in New Orleans. Rip off your blinders, look at what other people have to go through EVERY day of their lives and get a fucking grip. Help is on it's way which is much more than can be said for others in your current position.


      Kristyn L.

Let me see if I properly understand your argument. Because third world nations often suffer long periods of time without safety, clean water and food supplies those suffering in New Orleans this week should stop bitching? That's absolutely ludicrous. Actually, insane is a better label for your warped logic.

The United States of America is the richest country in the world with the most powerful armed forces. New Orleans is a city in the continental United States, not part of the third world or a country ruled by "warlords who rape and kill". It took more than four days after Hurricane Katrina struck for the National Guard to arrive with food, water and weapons. The planet's only superpower is clearly stuggling with the aftermath of Katrina and you reckon we're over reacting because "other people" have to endure this "every day of their lives". Just as two wrongs never make a right, I hardly think citizens of the United States (or Canada, for that matter) are "spoiled" for having expected a quicker response to these horrors.

In my opinion, it is you who needs to get a grip.

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Guest Blog Entry

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

I'm updating my guest blog from July 21/05 to include Hurricane Katrina & put this disaster at # 4. The loss of life will be immeasurable once all is said & done. The US federal gov't is an absolute JOKE with its miniscule support especially from Dubya who after 2 days decided to cut his vacation short & do something. I cannot imagine how it is in these stricken areas with people doing anything to survive. Let them loot & get water, food & other supplies from stores as all will be not salvagable when they reopen. Lives are at stake & I would probably do ANYTHING to try to survive much like these people are trying to do. New Orleans will become the 21st century ATLANTIS - the LOST city.


This article by Kevin Drum does a great job of tracking the fate of both FEMA and flood control projects in New Orleans under the Bush administration. Dubya didn't cause the hurricane but he is responsible for the far too slow federal response. What kills me is that this was not a surprise. 9/11 was a surprise attack, the tsunami was a surprise assault by Mother Nature but we saw Katrina forming and tracked her path. It's as if there was no plan at all, just a flat footed reaction that was grossly inadequate. The whole thing is so damn upsetting.

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Definitive Albums

CDWe'll continue with another block of ten as I name artists and their definitive albums. We're knocking down ten a day, in alphabetical order.

  • The Fugees - The Score
  • The Guess Who - American Woman
  • The Offspring - Smash
  • The Police - Synchronicity
  • The Pretenders - Learning To Crawl
  • The Rolling Stones - Let It Bleed
  • The Smashing Pumpkins - Siamese Dream
  • The Steve Miller Band - Fly Like an Eagle
  • The Tragically Hip - Fully Completely
  • The Verve - Urban Hymns

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Enhanced Search of

BinocularsThe CGI script I was using for searches within this site never really pleased me. It seemed a little too buggy and unpredictable for my liking, so last night I tapped into the powers of Google and will use their prowess to power searches.

As always, you can search this site from A link to this search page is at the bottom of every page. Go ahead and try the new and improved search at

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Rest in Peace

In MemoriumR.L. Burnside was 78. He was one of the last, great Mississippi bluesmen, whose raw, country blues was discovered late in his life.

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The Friday Five

The Number FiveFive songs in my collection with "New Orleans" in the title (not written by The Tragically Hip)

  1. City of New Orleans - Willie Nelson
  2. King of New Orleans - Better Than Ezra
  3. Christmas in New Orleans - Louis Armstrong
  4. New Orleans Instrumental No. 1 - R.E.M.
  5. City of New Orleans - Johnny Cash

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Guest Blog Entry

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

I wouldn't for a moment suggest that anyone suffering through the distaster that is New Orleans deserves it. Having said that though, honestly what did they expect?? There was plenty of advance warning, not to mention a mandatory evacuation order. So then everyone takes shelter in a single building, still located in the general vicinity of the disaster. Did no one expect that the power might go off? That the plumbing might not work? The current situation is the result of pretty much everyone from the federal government right down to the general populace dropping the ball and dropping it badly.

      Mike H.

Many a ball was dropped, that's for certain. As I understand it, New Orleans was a city of very poor and very rich and a very wide gap between the two. The rich got out, and may never return. The poor, without automobiles, education or money, were willing to roll the dice and stay in their city.

This article was posted Sunday morning. The mandatory evacuation notice came down Sunday morning and the Louisiana Superdome was opened that day at noon as a "shelter of last resort". The mayor discouraged people from staying at the Superdome because there were few supplies and "people would not have access to power and possibly plumbing". So yes, there was a days warning but it clearly wasn't enough time and the message wasn't completely received. Again, many a ball was dropped. If only we could call a Mulligan and do this over.

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Guest Blog Entry

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

What is happening in New Orleans is disgraceful and something I am not sure I could endure. Being human usually portrays some kind of higher intelligence and ways to cope with life. Yet as I look at the horrific footage of what is going on down in Louisianna and in particular New Orleans I realize how quickly our human coping mechanisms can be lost and how swiftly the animal comes out in human beings. Looting and fighting and lack of respect for each other is very disturbing. Yes the officials have not done a very good job of keeping the citizens fed and comfortable yet I still feel sad that the human aspect of this situation was lost so quickly.

Without order and rules and someone of authority overseeing them people become animals and perhaps less then animals. There have been fictional novels written on this very subject. Fictional novels that became pulitzer prize winners because of their escapism and sensationalism. Yet nothing about the novels I refer to are exaggerated when looking at the chaos of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.


I see right now that a convoy of trucks containing aid are arriving at the Superdome and Convention Center. This type of action should have come sooner. The people left behind already had little, and following the storm they had nothing. With little to lose they feel forgotten. A forgotten people in desperate times tend to act with little regard for order. The result is anarchy, and the only cure is hope.

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Guest Blog Entry

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

Hi Mike and readers alike.

With all this talk of radio stations pulling one specific Tragically Hip song from their rotations, I thought I would share my 2 cents on the Hip's superb "If New Orleans Is Beat".

This song always stood out with a big "?" when I tried to figure out what the guys were talking about. Although it may not pertain to the exact situation of the does say some interesting things. I'm sure you all know the tune, here is a sample:

Your smile is fading a bit so I ration it
don't think about it
here where the Mississippi quits
where its still got a bit of Minnesota in it

The river takes takes takes and takes
it doesn't change and only changes
see it there in a picture with me
there's a caption beneath,
"New Orleans is beat"
and if New Orleans is beat
if New Orleans is beat
if New Orleans is beat...

Do they mean if New Orleans is conquered, or exhausted? (or is that the same?) I'm thinking exhausted... You can only "take" so much then you're done. Downie says everything from Minnesota down is carried to New Orleans; New Orleans is strong, stronger than the rest of us. So if New Orleans is beat...Where does that leave you and me.

The song suddenly does seem extremely relevant. Here is another verse to crunch... Somebody else please share their thoughts.

No one will give you a thing these days
they'd rather kill it or throw it away
you don't 'do' dark American streets so
if New Orleans is beat...

Thanks, Peace be with us all.


If you Google "New Orleans is Beat", guess who's number one. Your guest blog has me playing The Hip tune from In Between Evolution right now and it does seem to have a completely different meaning in this context. I'm also reminded of how pretty it is. I've only heard it live once, a couple of Canada Days ago and they played it immediately before "New Orleans is Sinking".

I always thought "New Orleans is Beat" was subtlety referring to their classic beloved "New Orleans is Sinking", but hearing it today it seems to paint a picture of a city that can beat anything but is geographically at the mercy of the bordering Lake Pontchartrain and Mississippi River. They're a tough people, and if they're beat...

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Where the Saints of Football Play

Red CrossHow will they return to playing football in the Louisiana Superdome? The official site of the New Orleans Saints only just put up a reference to the disaster plaguing their home city and tickets are available to see the Giants come to town on September 18. The Superdome, currently a hellhole, will soon return to its normal function, but how can it ever be the same? How can one go there to witness something as frivolous as a football game when is has become home to such unspeakable horrors?

If you have the stomach for it, I urge you to read Trapped in the Superdome: Refuge becomes a hellhole from The Seattle Times. It does an excellent job of describing the hell that has become of the Louisiana Superdome and I'm posting a few excerpts below.

A 2-year-old girl slept in a pool of urine. Crack vials littered the restroom. Blood stains the walls next to vending machines smashed by teenagers.

"We pee on the floor. We are like animals," Taffany Smith, 25, said as she cradled her 3-week-old son, Terry. In her right hand she carried a half-full bottle of formula provided by rescuers. Baby supplies are running low; one mother said she was given two diapers and told to scrape them off when they got dirty and use them again.

At least two people, including a child, have been raped as the arena darkened at night. At least three people have died, including one man who jumped 50 feet to his death, saying he had nothing left to live for.

There is no sanitation. The stench is overwhelming. The city's water supply, which had held up since Sunday, gave out early yesterday, and toilets in the Dome became inoperable and began to overflow. "There is feces on the walls," said Bryan Hebert, 43, who arrived at the dome Monday. "There is feces all over the place."

The article refers to the Superdome curse, often blamed for the poor performances of Saints teams over the years. Apparently, it was built on top of a cemetery. Today, it is a national disgrace, a hellhole of forgotten and frightened people. You can't blame this on the curse. This is a failure of humanity.

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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. Below are the top ten search strings for August 2005.

  1. family guy
  2. joe carter
  3. pearl jam
  4. amber frye
  5. nirvana
  6. amber frye nude
  7. bill barilko
  8. pat quinn
  9. tie domi
  10. justice

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Marathon of Hope

CanadaTwenty-five years ago today, Terry Fox was forced to abandon his Marathon of Hope for cancer research just outside of Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Terry Fox was a native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, who was diagnosed with cancer in his right leg in 1977 at the age of 18. Two years later he began training for a cross-Canada run to raise money for cancer research. On April 12, 1980 he began his journey in St. John's, Newfoundland, running an average of 43 kms (26 miles) a day through six provinces. On September 1st, after 143 days and 5,565 kms (3,339 miles), Terry was forced to stop running outside Thunder Bay because his cancer had spread to his lungs. He died less than a year later, on June 28, 1981, a month short of his 23rd birthday.

Terry Fox is a true Canadian hero. When dealt a lethal blow by life, his spirit triumphed is truly heroic fashion. I remember cheering Terry on during his 143 day run and feeling the sadness when he was forced to stop before succumbing to his cancer. Terry touched each and every one of us during his brief life.

The annual Terry Fox Run brings in over $14 million yearly for cancer research. Visit for more information.

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Desperation and Danger

Red CrossI'm following the aftermath of hurricane Katrina fairly closely, and I can't get over the surreal nature of it all. Much of New Orleans is under water, looting is widespread with many looters armed with weapons, thousands and thousands of people are simply homeless with no food or water, rescue efforts are failing due to dangerous conditions and police and National Guard troops are struggling to restore order in a scene reminiscent of "Escape From New York".

These are merely the short term concerns. Long term, there is real concern that disease could kill thousands, with dead bodies decaying in the already polluted water. Then, there is an overwhelming number of poor that have been displaced and a city that has simply been ravaged. Of course, New Orleans isn't the only city affected as more and more dead are reported in Mississippi. The death toll, officially tallied at 185, will surely skyrocket once everything is sorted out. It's devastating.

I read these reports and I see the horror, and it plays out like the script for an epic disaster flick. Earlier today, there were even reports that Superdome evacuation efforts were halted because some people have become violent against the rescuers. They closed the entire city and declared martial law, and still there is mass looting and lawless behaviour. For once, the headline on doesn't seem hyperbolic. "Desperation and Danger" it reads.

If it wasn't so damn real, it would make a tremendous summer popcorn movie. Sadly, it's all too real. Donate online if you can. Desperation and danger indeed.

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Definitive Albums

CDWe'll continue with another block of ten as I name artists and their definitive albums. We're knocking down ten a day, in alphabetical order.

  • Stray Cats - Built For Speed
  • Supertramp - Breakfast In America
  • System of a Down - Toxicity
  • The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds
  • The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
  • The Clash - London Calling
  • The Cranberries - No Need To Argue
  • The Doors - The Doors
  • The Eagles - Hotel California
  • The Flaming Lips - The Soft Bulletin

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