May 2008 Archives

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Toronto FC 2, Los Angeles Galaxy 0

Toronto FC Wow. In my life I've been to dozens of Blue Jays games, dozens of Maple Leafs games and dozens of Raptors games. I've been to Marlies games, Argo games and WWF cards. I've been to all of these live events in this city, but I've never experienced what I experienced this afternoon at BMO Field.

For over 90 minutes of play, everyone was on their feet singing, chanting, dancing, stomping and cheering. It was as if everybody was reading from the same handbook. When the players are introduced, the public address announcer just says the Toronto FC player's first name and we all yell their last name. At the 23-minute mark, we all sang a song for Danny Dichio, because he scored the franchise's first ever goal at the 23-minute mark. There were lots of customs and practices to obey.

The songs were awesome. There were songs for certain players, such as the spin on "Hey Jude" for Maurice Edu or the call and response between sections for Marco Velez. There were anti-Galaxy songs, such as the super catchy "F*ck Galaxy" and love songs for Toronto. There was a song to start things off, a chant to remind the opposition "this is our home", anti-Beckham songs and even "Seven Nation Army". My favourite songs were the anti-ref songs which we sang whenever a call went against us. There was even this French question we'd ask the section across the field and then they'd answer and we'd both do this dance. That one is tough to explain... but super fun.

In addition to the singing, chanting and dancing, there was also a soccer game. I was worried it would be a boring 0-0 game, but I actually got to see two Toronto FC goals and at least six other solid scoring chances. I was stunned by how dominant we were and how much offence there was. It could easily have been 5-0 for the good guys.

Thanks for the ticket, Elvis. I'm seriously starting to think I was wrong about this franchise. I didn't think a professional soccer team would make it in this city, but today I witnessed 20 thousand young, enthusiastic fans treat the event with all the ritualistic fervent of a religious gathering. This was their church, and there was no sign of impending apathy.

Here are dozens of photos I took this afternoon during my very first Toronto FC game as we beat the Los Angeles Galaxy 2-0.

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Toronto FC and Me: An Offer I Couldn't Refuse

Toronto FC I'm still fairly new to Blackberry Nation. I primarily use my Blackberry to jump on the web and as a phone. I've never really used it to send text messages, but today it vibrated and when I picked it up thinking I had a phone call, I had such a message. "Dude - want to go to the TFC game today?"

It was from a number I didn't recognize, so I replied with three simple words. "Who is this?" It turns out it was my buddy Elvis and he had an extra ticket to this afternoon's game against the Los Angeles Galaxy at BMO Field. I've never been to a Toronto FC game at BMO Field, so I took him up on the offer.

It turns out there were a few rules. Firstly, he wanted me to know we'll be sitting with the rowdiest of the rowdy and there will be plenty of boorish behaviour and swears galore. No problem! Heck, I wouldn't want to watch my first soccer game in any other environment. Elvis also told me to wear red. This was going to be a problem.

I thought about every piece of clothing I own and absolutely none of it is red. I'm more of a black, blue and grey kind of guy. After going through everything, I finally found a shirt that will help me fit in. It's the 2007 Oasis Zoo Run shirt I got when I ran their 10k race last fall. It's red and it'll do.

I'm taking my camera and I'll be taking notes. Everyone I know who's been to a Toronto FC game raves about the atmosphere and experience. I'm starting to think it won't matter that I'm not a soccer guy.

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The Dream NBA Finals: Lakers-Celtics

NBA The NBA have their dream final. The Boston Celtics knocked off the Detroit Pistons last night setting up a Celtics-Lakers final for the first time since 1987. It will be the 11th time the Celtics and Lakers have met in the NBA finals.

Boston has dominated this rivalry, winning 8 out of 10, although the first was against the Minneapolis Lakers. I wasn't around for those great match-ups in the 60s, but I was there for Larry Bird vs. Magic Johnson in the 80s. The Celtics currently lead in total championships with 16 to the Lakers' 14.

Expect to see lots of Bill Russell, Elgin Baylor, Bill Cousy, Jerry West, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Kevin McHale, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Robert Parish and James Worthy footage over the next week. Heck, let's start right now. This is, after all, a dream final.

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Neil Morrison Was Brother Bill

radioI always liked Brother Bill when he was on CFNY Edge102. I was sorry when he left Toronto for Vancouver and lost touch with him after that. It turns out he's working at 99.3 The Fox in Vancouver and he now goes by his birth name, Neil Morrison.

Freddie P will be appearing on Neil Morrison's show every Friday, and he debuted there today. Here's the audio, complete with Canadian Thinker promotions.

The best part is when Fred keeps calling Neil Morrison "Bill".

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Taking Our Lumps and Hanging In

baseballFor us in Raging Storm, this is our first season playing in the comp division. There are dozens and dozens of slo-pitch teams playing in the RSPA and the comp division is for the best of the best. We got bumped into comp when we won the highest intermediate division last year.

We've played five games thus far, winning two, losing two and getting edged in extra innings once. On the surface that 2-3 record doesn't look horrible, but we've never worked so hard for those wins and we were hammered in a couple of losses. Yes, we're taking our lumps, but we're hanging in there.

The biggest difference between the intermediate divisions and comp is the calibre of the opposing batters. These guys and gals can hit. It no longer matters that we get good pitching and play wicked defense, they just blast the ball where we ain't.

In WKRP fashion, you're left facing the harsh reality. Excelling in this division would require an upgrade of parts, including yours truly, but are we prepared to break up the family. Of course not. Andy wasn't about to boot Herb and Les and we're not about to rip Raging Storm to shreds just so we can play with the big boys.

We'll just take our lumps... and try to hang in there.

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Tokyo Police Club - Tessellate

slsI'm submitting a song for SLS19 consideration. I'm submitting "Tessellate" by Tokyo Police Club.

I don't think it's as good as "Nature of the Experiment", but "Tessellate" grew on me. They got bonus points for being from from Newmarket, Ontario, but they didn't need 'em. These guys are gonna be big.

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Prince's Creep and Radiohead's Order

musicWe all love Radiohead's "Creep", right? Apparently, even Prince loves "Creep", and he recently covered the song at Coachella. The next day, YouTube clips of Prince's cover of "Creep" were super popular, but they were removed at the request of NPG Records who claimed a copyright violation.

The videos were shot by fans and the song belongs to Radiohead, yet it's Prince who had them removed from YouTube so fans couldn't enjoy them. The best part of this story is when Radiohead themselves stepped in.

In a recent interview, Thom Yorke said he heard about Prince's performance from a text message and thought it was "hilarious." Yorke laughed when his bandmate, guitarist Ed O'Brien, said the blocking had prevented him from seeing Prince's version of their song.

"Really? He's blocked it?" asked Yorke, who figured it was their song to block or not. "Surely we should block it. Hang on a moment."

Yorke added: "Well, tell him to unblock it. It's our ... song."

This begs the question, did Prince have the right to order YouTube to block a fan-shot video of him performing a song he doesn't own? And even if he does have that right, isn't it pretty shitty that he'd make that call?

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The Best Moist Songs

The Number FiveMy favourite Moist songs

  1. Push
  2. Silver
  3. Gasoline
  4. Believe Me
  5. Tangerine

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Luc Bourdon, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumLuc Bourdon was 21. He was a promising rookie defenseman with the Vancouver Canucks who played on the Canadian team that won the gold medal at the 2007 world junior hockey championship in Vancouver and made the tournament's all-star team.

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Harvey Korman, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumHarvey Korman was 81. He was the tall, versatile comedian who won four Emmys for his outrageously funny contributions to "The Carol Burnett Show" and played a conniving politician to hilarious effect in "Blazing Saddles."

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Michael Power Baseball Juggernaut

baseballI was reading the Toronto Star sports section last night when I came across the city's high school baseball team rankings. At the top of that list, ranked #1, is Michael Power / St. Joseph's High School, my alma matter.

This isn't a new phenomena. When I was attending the school in the early 90s, we were always ranked in the top ten, often #1. I've always loved playing baseball, so in my final year I tried out for the team.

It didn't take long to realize these players were in a different class. Many had scholarships to play in the States after graduation. At least one would be drafted by a major league team. They could all hit a ton, throw bullets and it all seemed to come so naturally to them. Meanwhile, I was pouring my heart into the game and, although I didn't stick out like a sore thumb, I didn't survive the final round of cuts.

A few months later I was somewhat validated when that team won the Bob Prentice Cup at SkyDome, making Michael Power / St. Joseph's High School the GTA baseball champs. If you're gonna get cut, it's best to be cut by the cream of the crop.

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2008 Playoff Pool: Day Forty-Nine

PuckNothing is worse than a Stanley Cup final that's over in four straight. The exception to this rule, of course, is when your team sweeps, but I wouldn't know about such things.

The Pens had to win last night to make this interesting and they did just that thanks to a couple of goals from Sid the Kid. Those goals helped Patino surge into 2nd place in our pool.

For the rest of the story, visit

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Damon Allen Retires

argosI wore my #9 Damon Allen 2004 Grey Cup Championship tee shirt today. I didn't wear it because Damon Allen was announcing his retirement today, that part was a complete coincidence, but I'm glad I had it on. Allen played in the CFL for 23 years and has more passing yards than any other player in professional football history.

I really like Damon Allen, a fierce competitor who could run like no other quarterback I've seen. In just five seasons as a Toronto Argo he sits second in club history in career passing yards (13,974), career attempts (1,713) and completions (1,051), career passing touchdowns (77), and once completed 13 consecutive passes in a game - the second-best streak in team history.

My only complaint about Allen is that he hung on a tad too long. I should have been writing this entry one year ago. Still, that's my only beef with #9. He had a stellar career.

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Emm Gryner - Big Bang Baby

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.

Emm Gryner - Big Bang Baby
My buddy and Raging Storm teammate Mike Kic turned me on to the sounds of Emm Gryner. On one album, she covered a bunch of songs to give them a feminine flavour. She called this album "Girl Versions", and this is an STP cover from that CD.

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Early Canadian Rock: The 60s and 70s

canada flag I've got a bud who's been burying me in early Canadian rock these past few months. All good Canadians know "As Years Go By" by Mashmakan or "Oh What A Feeling" by Crowbar, but unless you remember the 60s, how would you know The Beau-Marks, The Ugly Ducklings or Motherlode?

I asked this friend to put together a mix of essential early Canadian rock listening for guys like me who need a crash course on everything before The Guess Who and Rush. He calls this volume one, with volume two to follow, and here are the 29 tunes on Early Canadian Rock: The 60s and 70s.

  1. Little Darlin' - The Diamonds
  2. Clap Your Hands - The Beau-Marks
  3. Ain't Love a Funny Thing - Robbie Lane & The Disciples
  4. Any Other Way - Jackie Shane
  5. As Years Go By - Mashmakan
  6. Better Watch Out - McKenna Mendelson Mainline
  7. Big Town Boy - Shirley Matthews
  8. Boom Boom - David Clayton Thomas & The Shays
  9. Bring it Down Front - Jon-Lee & The Checkmates
  10. Charlene - Richie Knight & The Mid-Knights
  11. Daytime Night Time - Keith Hampshire
  12. Fortune Teller - Bobby Curtola
  13. Gaslight - The Ugly Ducklings
  14. Got To Get You Into My Life - The Stitch in Tyme
  15. Half Past Midnight - The Staccatos
  16. Heartaches - Jayson King
  17. Her Own Life - Grant Smith & The Power
  18. I Would Be The One - Kensington Market
  19. If I Call You By Some Name - The Paupers
  20. If - Little Caesar & The Consols
  21. It Was I - The Big Town Boys
  22. Oh What A Feeling - Crowbar
  23. Opportunity - Mandala
  24. Shakin' All Over - Guess Who
  25. The Stones That I Throw - Levon & The Hawks
  26. Turned 21 - Fludd
  27. Unless You Care - Terry Black
  28. Walk On By - Bobby Kris & The Imperials
  29. When I Die - Motherlode

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Toronto Blog Target Update

googleBack in January I updated you on my Toronto Blog Google Challenge. At that time I was 3rd when you Google toronto blog and I was gunning for first, despite the fact the blogs in 1st and 2nd were multi-authored and financed, in other words, professional blogs. I am but one man doing this for shits and giggles during coffee breaks, intermissions and commercials.

I just conducted the search and I'm pleased to report I've made further progress. I'm now ranking 2nd overall when you search for toronto blog in Google. That's out of 6,800,000 indexed sites, by the way.

I'll update this little challenge when I'm on top of the Toronto blog food chain.


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In Praise of the Hot Dog

foodSunday afternoon, as I roasted a hot dog over a blazing hot bonfire, I couldn't wait to slip it in a bun and chow down. Hot dogs might not be good for us, but damn it's one tasty food.

I've always loved hot dogs and sausages. Nothing tastes better after a ball game, hockey game or concert. When it's 2am and you're hungry, it's the perfect food. Hot dogs and sausages are Toronto's official street meats, and despite efforts to diversify our street food by adding samosas, souvlaki and spring rolls, the hot dog vendor will always be king in this town.

It's too bad they're so damn bad for us. If you're questioning the existence of an omnipotent, wholly good Lord, think about this: would a wholly good, omnipotent God make something so bad for us so tasty?

Related entries:

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PJ Fresh Phil and Snit on YTV

memoryYouTube user Retrontario frequently uploads fantastic retro-Toronto-centric gems. These clips never fail to bring back a ton of memories for me, so I feature them from time to time.

I was always a little old for YTV. It launched late in 1988 when I was fourteen years old and by the time The Zone debuted I was way too old to be interested.

I didn't watch The Zone, but I was familiar with it. It first aired in the early 90s and they had PJs instead of VJs. The first PJ and the only one I ever knew by name was Phil Guerrero who went by the name PJ Fresh Phil.

As you'll see in this clip, PJ Fresh Phil's co-host was Snit, a television with dentures. I knew PJ Fresh Phil in the real world as the guy I used to mosh with at The Phoenix on Monday nights.

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City and Colour - Sleeping Sickness

slsI'm submitting a song for SLS19 consideration. I'm submitting "Sleeping Sickness" by City and Colour with special guest Gord Downie.

I've written quite a bit about this song, but I've never officially submitted it for SLS consideration. Now, it's official. There's no official video yet, but you can hear this sweet song by clicking play below.

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The Evolution of the Shopping Bag

boxI have memories from my childhood of my parents carrying in the groceries in paper bags. The groceries always came home in these paper bags and then, almost overnight, the paper bags disappeared.

Plastic bags became the norm. The economy grocery stores eventually started charging us 5¢ a plastic bag, but there were lots of plastic bags and no paper ones. For awhile, I missed the paper bags, but then I forgot about them.

Now comes word that the LCBO is phasing out plastic shopping bags at its retail outlets.

The plastic bag ban is part of a growing environmental movement that began in March 2007 when San Francisco became the first North American city to ban non-recyclable plastic bags made from petroleum products.

The Manitoba town of Leaf Rapids followed suit later that month, becoming the first Canadian municipality to block retailers from selling or distributing plastic bags.

Plastic bags dissolve over 1,000 years, according to the environmental research group Worldwatch Institute. The group says consumers around the globe dispose of 500 billion plastic sacs every year.

One day we'll talk about plastic bags the way I just reminisced about paper ones. It's all about environmentally friendly reusable bags. Once we get rid of these damns plastic bags we'll ban hand guns, hand gun clubs and cellphones while driving.

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2008 Playoff Pool: Day Forty-Seven

PuckYikes, the young Penguins are getting schooled. If you're rooting for the Pens, there hasn't been much to get up about. In fact, it's been a dog with fleas.

In the pool, there has never been a closer race for second. Four poolies are separated by two points. I still think Patino's got the best shot, assuming Pittsburgh eventually gets on the board.

For the rest of the story, visit

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Sydney Pollack, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumSydney Pollack was 73. He was a Hollywood mainstay as director, producer and sometime actor whose star-laden movies like "The Way We Were," "Tootsie" and "Out of Africa" were among the most successful of the 1970s and 1980s.

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googleAt some point this year, I'll complete my sixth year of blogging. These past few years, as my SEO skills improved and my Google-fu strengthened, I've had a few kicks over how highly I'd rank for certain keywords. I still think it's pretty cool that I rank #2 behind Wikipedia when people Google Bill Barilko.

Earlier today, while browsing the referral log, I saw a visitor dropping by after Googling Tom Henke. Tom Henke, beloved Blue Jay and dominant closer for so many wonderful years. I wondered where I ranked when people Google Tom Henke.

I'm currently ranked #3, just behind Wikipedia and, a couple of major league heavyweights.

If you had told me twenty years ago I'd one day rank third when people search for Tom Henke... I'd wonder what the hell you were talking about.

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The Fourth Foot Drops

newspaperWhile I was cut off from the world, there was news from Kirkland Island, British Columbia. A human foot with its foot shoe intact has washed ashore.

In February, I wrote about the three severed right feet that had washed ashore near Nanaimo over the previous six months. Now we have a fourth, all in a ten month span, all right and all sneaker-clad.

Any theories out there?

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The Monday Shuffle

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

  1. Captain's Log / Space Madness - Ren & Stimpy
  2. What'd I Say? - Ray Charles
  3. Manhattan Project - Rush
  4. You've Got Her In Your Pocket - The White Stripes
  5. C'mon Girl - Red Hot Chili Peppers
  6. Baby Please Don't Go - Big Bill Broonzy
  7. Between Us To Hold - Hayden
  8. What Have I Done To Deserve This? - Pet Shop Boys
  9. Be My Baby - The Ronettes
  10. The Living Dead - Phantom Planet

Let's talk about "Baby Please Don't Go". If you're like me, the version you first think of belongs to Van Morrison. Actually, it was a hit for the band Them, fronted by Van Morrison, but you're forgiven if you think of it as a Van Morrison solo.

That's one of three versions I have of this tune. In addition to the Big Bill Broonzy version I heard today, I have the original by Big Joe Williams. He recorded it way back in 1935.

Since then, acts from The Nuge to Aerosmith, AC~DC, John Lee Hooker and The Doors have taken a swing at this wicked Blues standard. When Morrison recorded the song with Them back in 1964, session guitar work was played by a then little-known Jimmy Page.

Now you know the rest of the story.

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Woodland Trails Scout Camp

campingCamp Woodland Trails has 19 campsites which are spread out over 275 acres of breathtaking landscaping. This weekend, my son and I stayed at Hickory Hills with his Beavers troop.

I remember these trips from when I was a Cub Scout, and it was as fun as I recall. The weather was fantastic as we went on a scavenger hunt, learnt how to use our compasses by orienteering, enjoyed a traditional spaghetti dinner, exhausted ourselves on the obstacle course, played plenty of soccer, told stories and jokes by the campfire, roasted marshmallows, made smores, went on a long hike and closed out with a wienie roast.

There were no computers, no televisions and no radios. It was just a jam-packed couple of days that James and I will never forget.

I do, however, have one complaint. Sleeping in a single room with 17 Beavers and their dads isn't easy. I counted at least three snorers and one dude, sharing the bunk beside me, cranked out his snores at about 140 decibels. I didn't think I'd ever fall asleep. Next year, I'm bringing my tent and sleeping outdoors.

I went nuts with the camera. Here's the Woodland Trails Scout Camp photoset and a few pics below.

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2008 Playoff Pool: Day Forty Five

PuckI didn't see or hear a minute of last night's game, but I did check up on the score on my Blackberry. If you're wondering what kept me from the Stanley Cup finals, I'll write about that later today.

In the pool, Patino and Alexi made moves to secure second spot. They've got a slight lead on Ryan. The race for second is going to be super close.

For the rest of the story, visit

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Dick Martin, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumDick Martin was 86. He was the zany half of the comedy team whose "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In" took television by storm in the 1960s, making stars of Goldie Hawn and Lily Tomlin and creating such national catch-phrases as "Sock it to me!"

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Children's Story: Slick Rick Pardoned

rewindSlick Rick won't be deported back to the United Kingdom thanks to a pardon he received for the attempted murders of two men in 1991.

I collected the Rap Traxx compilations that came out in the late 80s and early 90s, and the best cut on Rap Traxx 2 was Slick Rick's "Children's Story". My brothers and I would imitate Slick Rick's delivery and rap this sucker all the damn time.

Here's the video for "Children's Story". It's still a great tale.

If you want to hear another classic Slick Rick song, look no further than this awesome version of "La Di Da Di".

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Oblivious to the Snickers

humourI just read that Dennis Lee is a finalist for this year's Trillium Book Award, Ontario's premier literary prize. Whenever I think of Dennis Lee, I think about the annual poem recital we had through grade three. Dennis Lee's "Alligator Pie" and "Garbage Delight" were ripe full of fun poems to memorize.

In grade two, I memorized and recited "The Owl and the Pussycat" by Edward Lear. I remember doing quite well and making it to the finals where we'd recite the poem in front of the entire school and parents and others. I just Googled the poem and read it for the first time in over 20 years, and damn is it unintentionally funny. If I were watching a kid recite this poem today, I'd be snickering my smart-ass face off.

O lovely Pussy!

The Owl and the Pussycat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
"O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are, you are, you are,
What a beautiful Pussy you are."
Pussy said to the Owl "You elegant fowl,
How charmingly sweet you sing.
O let us be married, too long we have tarried;
But what shall we do for a ring?"
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-tree grows,
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose, his nose, his nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.
"Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling your ring?"
Said the Piggy, "I will"
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon.
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand.
They danced by the light of the moon, the moon, the moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.

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Why I'm Rooting for the Penguins

Stanley CupThe Stanley Cup finals start tomorrow night. In case you're living under a rock, it's the Pittsburgh Penguins vs. the Detroit Red Wings. I'll be strongly rooting for the Penguins, and here's the five reasons why.

The Streak
Freddie P touched on this neat little factoid and I dig it as much as he does. No team captained by a non-North American has ever won the Stanley Cup. In fact, all the Stanley Cup winning captains have been Canadian except for Derian Hatcher who captained the 1999 Dallas Stars. Lidstrom, captain of the Red Wings, would be the first European to lead his team to a cup win. It might not be politically correct, but I prefer captains and Conn Smyth winners to hail from Canada.

The Kid
I've been following the career of Sid the Kid since around the time I wrote this entry. Believe it or not, he's still only 20 years old. That's incredible, and it would be even cooler if he led these young guns to the holy grail.

Red Wing Fatigue
I used to hate the Red Wings when we shared a division with them. I watched game 7 of that 1993 series just last week and, even though I knew exactly what was going to happen, I was so damn happy Gilmour scored to tie it up late in the 3rd and Borchevsky scored to win it in OT. I'm tired of these guys, they've won enough, and without Yzerman and Shanahan, there's no reason to like 'em.

The Hat
I love watching elite players, and I loved watching Mario Lemieux. In the early 90s, when the Penguins were winning cups, they were the team I cheered for when the Leafs were out. I still have my black Penguins cap in the trunk of my car. It's the only NHL logo on a cap I own that isn't the Maple Leaf.

Gary Roberts
Who doesn't love Gary Roberts? He was our heart and soul, he retired and came back, he hasn't sipped from the Cup since 1989. Damn I want him to hoist Lord Stanley's mug one more time...

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Pork and Beans and YouTube Celebs

vidsJewelGurl tipped me off that there's now an official video for Weezer's "Pork and Beans". If you're up to date on your viral YouTube videos, you'll recognize a number of the faces in this vid, from Tay Zonday to Chris Crocker and Miss Teen South Carolina.


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The Best Bush Songs

The Number FiveMy all-time favourite Bush songs

  1. Comedown
  2. Little Things
  3. Glycerine
  4. Everything Zen
  5. Bomb

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Finally, An Actual Response From Prima

tvFor the past 16 months, frustrated owners of Prima TVs have found their way to this entry where they've shared their pain. If you follow this blog, you know I don't typically go off on a company for no good reason. I wrote that entry after countless calls to Prima where I couldn't get a human on the phone to save my life. I just needed to vent.

Today, after 195 unhappy comments, there was finally an official response from the company that supports Prima televisions here in Canada. I won't reproduce everything Frank Macri, VP Operations for PWW Service Inc., had to say, but he admitted things were shite and they're committed to getting better.

Most encouraging was his promise they're "adding staff to our call centre so that when you call, you’ll be greeted with a live person who can answer your questions". Really, this is what pissed me off in the first place. Nobody replied to my emails, nobody answered their phones and even the voice mailbox was full. I had an 11-month old busted television and nowhere to turn.

And yes, I can't help but wonder if my little blog entry that's so visible when people Google Prima had something to do with this.

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Grumpy Old Man

gasWe're approaching $1.30 a litre for gas in this city. Seriously, the local gas station is selling regular unleaded for $1.27 a litre.

Four years ago this week, I was ticked at the fact we were approaching a buck a litre. I even have a note about the end of an era, the first time in my life I had to pay more than a buck a litre to fill up the tank. That's when I shared this little nugget.

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.

That's right, this old bastard drove for years without paying more than 49¢ a litre on gas. And we used to hike miles to work in 12 feet of snow, too. No foolin'.

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Africentric Alternative School Opens September 2009

schoolToronto's public school board has approved an Africentric school in an empty wing of Sheppard Public School on Sheppard Ave. W. near Keele St. The school will open in September 2009. Canadian Thinker calls it "a sad day for Canada", but I don't think it's that simple.

Here's what Canadian Thinker says about Toronto's Africentric school:

Here it is, the year 2008, Toronto prides itself in being a multi-cultural city in a diverse country, yet we’ve buckled under to the politically correct again and allowed something to happen that is not only wrong, it’s downright embarrassing.

Everything that Canada stands for crumbles with this decision. Allowing segregation in our schools is nothing to be proud of. This is not progressive and it’s definitely not a solution for what ails black youth in the current school system.

This decision is not a kin to segregation. From The Star:

The Africentric grade school will seek to hire a number of black teachers and use a more global, less Europe-focused curriculum to engage more students of colour. It will be open to children of all backgrounds from anywhere in the city.

Unlike the freestanding model common in dozens of U.S. cities and urged by many local proponents, board staff drafted what it called a "made-in-Toronto" blueprint that will open in an unused wing of a larger underenrolled school.

It is a model Premier Dalton McGuinty has said he prefers to a school in a separate building, although he has made it clear he opposes any public school focused on one culture.

Children in the new Africentric school likely will enter Sheppard through the same front door, share a lunch room, playground and library and join the same after-school club and teams.

There is a 40% drop-out rate among black students in this city. This alternative school is a bold attempt to curb this trend. We, as a city, want all of our children to graduate high school.

It's not a "sad day for Toronto". It's a sad day for those who dismiss ideas simply because they don't gel perfectly with the multi-cultural vision we have of this city. It's not an ideal solution, but it's worth a shot.

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A Child's First F Bomb

swearsJames had something he wanted to tell me tonight. "I know what the f-word is," he said.

For a moment I thought maybe he knew another f-word. He's only six years old and still in senior kindergarten, so how could he know the f-word? I asked him what the f-word was.

That's when, in his sweet, innocent voice, he dropped the f-bomb. A kid in his class unveiled the word to a group of them today, and James knew he possessed a word with power.

I nodded my head, confirmed that he had indeed stumbled upon the f-word, and left him with one final order. "Don't use that word."

I know, it's weak, but it was the best I had. I didn't see this coming.


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The Next Big Thing?

googleI'm always looking for the next big thing. A Google search for "* is the next big thing" gives me a list of items that may be the next big thing.

  • Qwerty
  • luxury cruising
  • Amy Davidson
  • table-based layout
  • small
  • boutique gyms
  • bevolution
  • streaming

C'mon, table-based layout? That's so 1998. Everyone knows CSS-based layouts are the next big thing.

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Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Piece of Crap

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

Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Piece of Crap
I remember Q107 playing this Sleeps with Angels cut and I instantly liked the punky simplicity of it. For the past several years, this song has been a bit of an inside joke with my friend Scott and I. If something wasn't working as it should, usually a piece of Microsoft software, we'd rant about it in "Piece of Crap"-like fashion and conclude that it was "a piece of crap... PIECE OF CRAP!"

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Fred McGriff: The Crime Dog

blue jaysI'm featuring 1988 Topps Cards featuring members of my beloved Blue Jays that are featured on this blog.

Fred McGriff was a fantastic first basemen for the Jays who led the American League in homers back in 1989, but he's best known around here as a key part of The Trade.

The Trade, the trade that eventually resulted in two World Series championships, had McGriff and Tony Fernandez shipped off to San Diego Padres in exchange for Roberto Alomar and Joe Carter.

Here's an interesting Fred McGriff tid bit from the 88 Topps Card blog.

From 1988 to 2002, which two players have the most seasons with at least 22 homers? Of course Fred McGriff is one, or else I wouldn't be citing the stat. Barry Bonds is the other.

We already know Rance Mulliniks was the first person to hit an inside the park homer at SkyDome, but who was the first person to clear the fence at SkyDome? It was Fred McGriff, The Crime Dog.

Fred McGriff

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I Hate Myself For Watching American Idol

idolI wish a didn't watch American Idol. I've managed to completly avoid such craptacular game shows as Dancing With the Stars, Don't Forget the Lyrics and America's Next Top Model, but I've always been strangely drawn to American Idol. It would be easy to say I just watch it with the wife and kids, but I'd watch without them.

I've actually followed every season of this show. I know, I know... I want to be the guy who walks away from it all, the guy who tires of holding his nose. I hate myself for watching American Idol.

The finale starts in 34 minutes and you know I'll be watching. I've picked David Cook to win pretty much from the start. If he's beat by that Archuleta kid, I'm through... until season 8, at least.

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I've Never Played a Single Game of Soccer

soccerMom, if you're reading this, there's something that's bugging me. How is it that I'm 33 years old and I've never played a single game of organized soccer outside of gym class?

My brothers both played. My son plays. It's actually got the highest participation rate in the country. Everyone, it seems, plays soccer as a kid. Except me, that is.

Sure, I had my tee ball and then softball and I played hockey, but how did I completely miss soccer?


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Salad Bar For Sale

foodA friend of mine is selling this great portable salad bar. It's ideal for small spaces and also can be used as a buffet for private parties.

Cambro's Ultra Bar can go anywhere and serve anything. Foam insulation provides excellent temperature retention for hot or cold foods. Sliding doors on both sides provide easy access to ample storage area. Sneeze guards and end panel shields help to protect food. Ultra Bars are portable, durable lightweight and easy to clean.

I took the photo below yesterday, so what you see is what you'll get. Contact me if you have an offer or if you want to check it out in person. A little online searching reveals that the Cambro Ultra Food Bar will cost you over a grand brand new, so this could be quite the deal.

But remember this... you can't make friends with salad.

Salad Bar for Sale

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2008 Playoff Pool: Day Forty

PuckLadies and gentlemen, we have our Stanley Cup final. It's the Penguins vs. Red Wings, which is a great match-up in my humble opinion. HNIC showed a little factoid about Sid the Kid getting the finals earlier than Gretzky or Lemieux. The Penguins turnaround has been fast and furious.

In the pool, Drew has first place locked up, but second place is a dogfight. Poolies, this break is an ideal time to audit your scores. Double check my totals, will ya?

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The Monday Shuffle

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

  1. Wild Horses - Rolling Stones
  2. Whole Lotta Love - Led Zeppelin
  3. In My Secret Life - Leonard Cohen
  4. Lithium - Evanescence
  5. G.O.D. We Tru$t - Maestro
  6. The Way - Fastball
  7. About Me - They Might Be Giants
  8. Free To Decide - The Cranberries
  9. I Predict A Riot - Kaiser Chiefs
  10. Into Temptation - Crowded House

I'm not a big Evanescence fan, but I've given their first two albums a spin or two, so I'm familiar with the content. I always thought it was rather ballsy of Amy Lee to name one of their tunes "Lithium". There's another "Lithium" in the rock world that you might be more familiar with and it sorta means a mega crapload to dudes my age.

Evanescence's "Lithium" is rather forgettable, but it's an awesome segue into one of my favourite songs of all-time.

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Sum 41 Redux

rewindWe've got the day off here in the T.Dot, thanks to Queen Vicky, so I'm going to step in the wayback machine and see what I was writing about on this date four years ago.

I was writing about Sum 41, a band I really, really wanted to like. Here's what I threw down on May 19, 2004.

Sum 41When a rock band comes out of somewhere like Ajax, Ontario, I try very hard to like them. "Fat Lip" was a cool tune with a cool video which gave hope to my cause. Sum 41 was selling a tonne of albums and were quickly becoming princes in the pop-punk kingdom. I really, really wanted to like this band. There was only one problem. I didn't.

When it comes to music, your ears like what your ears like. The Sum 41 sound does not appeal to me. Their hits are far from horrible and they don't make me want to hurl like other so-called pop-punk acts like Good Charlotte, but I've never gone out of my way to hear a Sum 41 song and I'm more likely than not to turn the station during one.

A popular rock band from Ajax and I'm not a fan, despite my serious attempt to be one. These ears have a mind of their own.

I like them even less now than I did then.

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Hear and Now

A Movie ReelHear and Now: 8 out of 10.

Irene Taylor Brodsky's parents were born deaf. They lived full lives, raised three children and, at the age of 65, decided to receive a complex surgical implant, which allows them to experience sound for the first time.

This documentary from HBO is about a great deal more than hearing sounds. It's about communication, and as we learn, hearing and communication are two mutually exclusive abilities.

This film is excellent and I highly recommend it.

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The Recording of Sleeping Sickness

musicI'm a big Gord Downie fan, and I was immediately intrigued when I heard he was guesting on the new City and Colour album. Shortly thereafter I heard the song and loved it so much I had to share it with everybody.

It's a sweet blend when Dallas Green's voice dances with Gord's. Here's a neat little behind the scenes vid. Unfortunately, we don't see Gord sing, but we do see him in a very cool Return of the Jedi tee shirt.

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Politics in the Age of YouTube

videoYouTube has become such a ubiquitous facet of the web, it's hard to believe this year's American presidential election will be the first one since YouTube was created back in 2005.

Before YouTube, we had video on the web, but we didn't have dummy-proof embedding that makes it laughably easy for anyone to add a YouTube video to his or her blog, home page, Facebook page or MySpace page. Everything is different now. There's absolutely no place to hide.

This video, currently making the rounds, is called "McCain's YouTube Problem Just Became A Nightmare". The mainstream press don't control all channels of information like they have in the past. Clips like this will spread virally because they're both compelling and revealing. Of course, it's a two way street, and similar montages will show up to stain Obama's run. I just hope they won't all feature Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

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I Wish They'd Have Left It Alone

thumbsdownFrom the moment they announced they were making a new Indiana Jones movie, I didn't like it. As a kid, I loved the trilogy. Next to the Star Wars trilogy, the Indiana Jones films were money in the bank to this youngster. Still, from the moment I heard there'd be a fourth, I've been sort of dreading it.

Now that the marketing drive is in full effect, I'm wondering if I'm the only one not looking forward to Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. I find when it comes to films and characters I loved as a kid, they do nothing but disappoint me when I revisit them as an adult. I already know I'm going to be disappointed by the new Indiana Jones and I'm ensuring I don't find out for at least another year when I catch it on TMN.

I just wish they'd leave some things alone.

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Canada vs. Russia, 2008 Gold Medal Live Blogging

hockeyA few years ago, I live blogged a Canada ~ Russia World Junior Hockey Championship game and it was a lot of fun. We won that one, and as I type the puck has dropped in the World Hockey Championship as we host Russia in the gold medal match.

James and I are settled in, we've got our pizza and our beverages and we're ready to rock. Go Canada Go!

12:59 - Russia just scored. We're only 1:23 into this game. I wonder if the ref gets an assist on the play? Canada 0, Russia 1

13:02 - We're on the PP. Just wondering, do these Getzlaf and Spezza points count in my playoff pool? Canada 0, Russia 1

13:05 - Great goal by Brent Burns to tie this sucker up. We've got a 4-1 lead in shots. This is shaping up to be a great game for a rainy Sunday afternoon. Canada 1, Russia 1

13:09 - WTF? I need a replay... How did that puck not go in? How dare TSN cut to a commercial without throwing us a replay first! Canada 1, Russia 1

13:16 - Awesome shot by Kunitz to give us the lead. I was just thinking how neat it was that Federov is still an effective player when Chris K. hammered one home. I'll get back to my Federov thought later... Canada 2, Russia 1

13:19 - We're going on the PP. I wonder how Sens fans feel watching Heatley and Spezza play this game? I shouldn't throw stones... I notice no Leafs made this team. Canada 2, Russia 1

13:23 - They just played that Molson ad that tells us real Canadian men turn down booty calls during the post season. I've turned down booty calls during Leaf playoff games. The calls were from my wife, and I made amends after the game, but nothing distracts me from the NHL playoffs. Nothing. Canada 2, Russia 1

13:26 - Nash just got high-sticked giving us a 2-man advantage. Get ready to cheer... Canada 2, Russia 1

13:27 - Brent Burns has his second of the game. Nice pass from St. Louis. We're still on the PP here, and Russia has just called a time-out. Canada 3, Russia 1

13:35 - I'm exhausted just watching this game. The action is fast and furious and that PP was thrilling. Now we're short handed but the Russian PP will be interrupted by an intermission. Canada 3, Russia 1

13:38 - After one period, we've got a two goal lead. It actually felt like we dominated more than that. They're promoting an interview with our Prime Minister. Let me guess... Mr. Harper will tell us how proud he is of our Canadian team and what a big fan he is of our national game. That's all well and good but it still won't win him a seat in Toronto. Canada 3, Russia 1

13:56 - With the pizza finished, the BBQ chips are out. Russia just scored. Federov was on the ice. Hockey fans remember well the Russian trifecta that came into the NHL in the early 90s. It was Federov, Mogilny and Bure and they were awesome. Federov is the last one standing. Canada 3, Russia 2

14:00 - Great save by Cam Ward on Ovechkin. Damn Ovechkin is good. The Russians are really coming on now. Canada 3, Russia 2

14:10 - Heatley scores! I was worried after a complacent start to the period. That's his 12th goal of the tournament beating Eric Lindros' old record. Canada 4, Russia 2

14:12 - Gord Miller just mentioned the fact Heatley has tied the old Yzerman record for points in this tournament by a Canadian. I love Heatley when he's playing for Canada and hate him when he's playing for Ottawa. It's funny how that works. Canada 4, Russia 2

14:20 - The goaltending has been strong with both Cam Ward and Nabokov making big saves. Canada 4, Russia 2

14:26 - After two periods we're up by two. They're airing that commercial that tells ignorant parents the new words kids use for recreational drugs. Did you know green means marijuana? Canada 4, Russia 2

14:37 - A Canada vs. Russia gold medal game in the first World Championship held in Canada was the dream match-up everyone wanted and got. In the NBA, people without a rooting interesting are hoping, wishing and praying for a Celtics vs. Lakers final. That's quite possible... but the Celtics have to dispose of Lebron first. Canada 4, Russia 2

14:46 - An unexpected guest just popped by. Drew, the guy who leads our playoff pool, is here with a steaming hot Tim Horton's coffee... but get this, he didn't bring one for me. And now he wants to watch the third period here. That is wrong with a capital W. Canada 4, Russia 2

14:51 - Cam Ward is shutting the door here as the Russians threaten. Canada 4, Russia 2

14:58 - Damn... Russians are within one. This is going to be quite the finish. I'm running out of fingernails. Canada 4, Russia 3

15:03 - Wow. End-to-end action. We need a goal so I can breathe. Canada 4, Russia 3

15:09 - Fudge. Kovalchuk just tied it up. Where the hell is the offense? Hitchcock just called a time-out. I'm not live blogging this thing to lose, dammit! Canada 4, Russia 4

15:18 - How's this for a storybook ending? Nash comes back after taking a puck in the mouth and scores the winner with seconds left in regulation... Canada 4, Russia 4

15:20 - We're heading to overtime. I can't help but notice that we were up by two when Drew showed up and now it's in OT. The dude can draft a playoff pool, but he's crap luck when it comes to an international tournament. Canada 4, Russia 4

15:27 - I'm watching the Penguins vs. Flyers during the intermission. Pittsburgh has the early lead. I'll bet they win 4-1 or 5-1. Canada 4, Russia 4

15:38 - What the hell was Nash thinking flipping the puck over the glass? That's a penalty, right? They're chatting about it... and... they called it. Damn. Canada 4, Russia 4

15:42 - Pittsburgh now leads 2-0. Canada 4, Russia 5

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2008 Playoff Pool: Day Thirty-Eight

PuckPop quiz, hotshot. What's the mathematical probability that two conference final teams, down 3 games to 0, come back and win their respective series in seven games? If my math is correct, I give it a 0.03221% chance of happening, and that's why you'll probably see the Penguins advance today.

That gave five is at 3pm, but Canada faces Russia in the IIHF World Championship at 1pm. Here's hoping it rains so I can justify a chunk of my Sunday in front of the boob tube.

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Spider-Man 3

A Movie ReelSpider-Man 3: 5.5 out of 10.

About four years ago I was thanking Sam Raimi in this space. I had just seen Spider-Man 2, and I liked it even better than Spider-Man, a film I thought was great. Here's what I wrote that day.

It would have been so easy for Sam Raimi and the gang to go through the motions, rely heavily on special effects and print money at the box office. Instead, they crafted a tremendous story with exceptional character development that stays true to the vision.

In Spider-Man 3, they sort of go through the motions, rely heavily on special effects and print money at the box office. It's not terrible, but it's a distant third in the franchise and it seems to collapse under the weight of the many villains. There's this Sandman dude, the new Goblin, Venom and the dark side of Spidey himself. That's four freakin' bad guys, at least two too many.

Still, Meatloaf made a good point. 2 outta 3 ain't bad.

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Subscribe to Toronto Mike Blog Entries by Email

rssI'm an RSS guy, but I'm also a realist. I get the fact that most people still don't know what the hell RSS is, how to subscribe to an RSS feed and why somebody would ever want to do that. My RSS feeds are how I read 90% of my daily web content but I understand that most people simply visit sites and blogs in their browsers, you know, the old fashioned way.

For those of you who don't want to dive into the world of RSS but like the idea of having these entries pushed to you, you can now subscribe to Toronto Mike blog entries by email.

Go ahead and give it a shot. You can always unsubscribe later...

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CRTC, Get Your Damn Hands Off My Web

webCanadian Thinker is calling it "scary stuff". I think that's an understatement. The CRTC has reversed it's 1999 promise to stay out of the realm of cyber space and is now looking at limiting Canadians' access to online broadcasters and Internet-based radio stations. It may also see a levy charged to Internet service providers to pay for the creation of more Canadian content online and they're looking at the practice of "traffic shaping" by ISPs in this country.

Net neutrality is important and our right to view content regardless of country of origin via this medium is now threatened. As Canadian Thinker said:

The CRTC has enough trouble handling what's on it plate already, without wading into the murky waters of cyber space.

As it stands, the CRTC is nothing more than a lackey for the major broadcasting companies in Canada, I'm sure Canadian internet providers would like to have their competition squashed as well.

Before it's too late, let's tell the CRTC that CanCon has no place on the world wide web.

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One-Hit Wonder Analysis

musicAndy Baio dove into the Whitburn Project data and came up with some interesting facts about one-hit wonders.

For the last ten years, obsessive record collectors in Usenet have been working on the Whitburn Project — a huge undertaking to preserve and share high-quality recordings of every popular song since the 1890s. To assist their efforts, they've created a spreadsheet of 37,000 songs and 112 columns of raw data, including each song's duration, beats-per-minute, songwriters, label, and week-by-week chart position.

Although we always associate the 1950s as the decade of one-hit wonders, this analysis shows that we're actually living in an era of the one-hit wonder as significant as the 50s. Almost 10% of the artists you'll find in the top 100 will never be there again.

Baio closes with a few facts about one-hit wonders that I found interesting. The longest-charting one-hit wonder to hit the #1 spot is Canadian Daniel Powter's "Bad Day" from 2006, which stayed on the charts for 32 weeks. And here's one that hits even closer to home. The longest-charting one-hit wonder to appear anywhere in the Top 100 is Duncan Sheik's "Barely Breathing" from 1997, which peaked at #16 but stayed in the top 100 for 55 weeks. Yes, Duncan Sheik, the very same Duncan who played the slide guitar on Custom's "May 26", which you'll find in the note Custom wrote to me and I shared on Wednesday.

See how it all ties together?


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Double-Take Headline

newspaperBrowsing the news at, there was a headline I had to read twice. Actually, I had to read it three times.

Sean Avery starts internship at Vogue

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Doin' It Right (On the Jays Side Of Town)

jaysOur Blue Jays are a little streaky this season. After a dismal stretch when our bats turned to dust, we've now won four in a row.

Since we're doin' it right, it's time for another Blue Jays song. This is "Doin' It Right (On the Jays Side Of Town)" by Brother Jake Edwards and the Q-107 Q-Jays.

If Brother Jake sounds familiar, it's because he was The Champ. Go Jays Go!

Other awesome Blue Jays audio:

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The Best Songs From Beck Hansen

The Number FiveMy favourite Beck songs

  1. Where It's At
  2. Pay No Mind (Snoozer)
  3. Devils Haircut
  4. Fucking With My Head (Mountain Dew Rock)
  5. Loser

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Saying No to the May 2-4 Camping Trip

campingI love to camp. When people talk about vacationing and getting away from it all, they speak of resorts and five-star hotels and casinos and I cringe. I far, far prefer the idea of pitching a tent and roughing it in nature as a fun escape from it all.

Many tent campers consider the May 2-4 long weekend (also knows as Victoria Day in some circles) as the ideal time for the inaugural camping trip of the year. In my experience, it's far too often cool and wet and it's far wiser to wait a month before packing up the sleeping bag.

Tonight, for example, it's 9° and rainy. Tomorrow it's more rain, and Monday, although sunny, has a low of 6°. It's too early.

Just say no to the May 2-4 camping trip... unless you've got a cabin or cottage.

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You're Packing More Inches Than Me

tvI'll bet at least 95% of all visitors to this blog are packing more inches than I am. The largest television in my house right now is 27". It's a Sony Trinitron and it's been my primary TV for over seven years.

At the time, 27 inches seemed like a decent enough size, and I'm not complaining, but I now realize that everyone I know has a television with a larger screen. Both brothers, my mom, my friends, they all own televisions bigger than my 27" Sony.

Is there anyone out there who's beat by my 27 incher?

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The Flatliners - This Respirator

slsI'm submitting a song for SLS19 consideration. I'm submitting "This Respirator" by The Flatliners.

Is it wrong to favour local talent? Sometimes I'll hear a song and dig it, but when I find out the band is from Mississauga or Burlington or Newmarket or wherever, I'll dig it just a little more. "This Respirator" is a cool new tune from The Flatliners and these guys are from Richmond Hill and Brampton. Ya gotta love it.

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Flight of the Conchords - Ladies of the World

humourReaders of the blog will know how much I enjoy Flight of the Conchords. It was actually my third favourite show of 2007. I can't wait for season two, but in the meantime, I have this new video to tide me over.

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Cito Squared

baseballLast season, I managed my slo-pitch team for the first time. It's a lot more work than you'd realize, but it was also a lot of fun and we ended up winning our division and graduating into the comp division, the highest level of play in the RSPA.

This season, I'm still managing Raging Storm, but I've taken on a new challenge. I've put together and entered a brand new team into an Etobicoke recreational softball league. We're calling ourselves the Piranhas and we just finished our first practice. Our first game is scheduled for next Thursday.

I'm now responsible for the admin and on-field management of two teams at opposite ends of the competitive spectrum. One team's in comp, one team is in a beer league and never the two shall meet.

Raging Storm would kick the Piranha's ass, but the jury's still out on which team would have more fun. Either way, Cito deserves all the credit and none of the blame.

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2008 Playoff Pool: Day Thirty-Six

PuckI remember the 1992 Stanley Cup Playoffs well. I remember it because Pittsburgh swept the Wales Conference final 4-0 against Boston and Chicago swept the Campbell Conference final 4-0 against Edmonton. That hasn't happened since and it won't happen this season because the Stars actually won a game last night to force a fifth game.

The battle for second in our pool is really heating up. Patino and Pops have 82 points apiece and Ryan and Alexi have 80. That means at least 5 people have a solid shot at making some cash.

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Death Cab For Cutie - I Will Possess Your Heart

slsI'm submitting a song for SLS19 consideration. I'm submitting "I Will Possess Your Heart" by Death Cab For Cutie.

It's 8:31, pretty lengthy for a tune these days, but the first 4:40 are just to warm you up. The first time I heard this new DCFC song, I wasn't sure. But after a few listens, I'd lovin' it. If this song makes the cut, it will be their 3rd appearance on SLS.

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Running Bases

baseballWriting about games we played in the schoolyard, like Butt's Up and Handball, I remembered Running Bases.

Running Bases was a game I played often as a kid. There would be two bases, and someone wearing a baseball glove and manning each base. Everyone else would then run back and forth between the two bases while the fielders threw the ball ahead to try and tag the runner out. Yes, Running Bases was exactly what it sounds like. We'd run bases and try and beat the throw before we got tagged.

It was best to play Running Bases on grass because you could slide. Every base you reached safely got you a point and when you were out you'd take over as fielder and someone else would run.

Running Bases was simple, but it was a lot of fun.

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Custom - May 26

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.

Custom - May 26
I just wrote about Custom, and it's May, so it seemed like a good time to share May 26. I once asked Custom to throw me a note on every song on Fast. Here's what he said about this pretty little ditty.

this one is cool because I wrote and recorded it on may 26 about something that actually happened. it's a true story. I only sang it once on the day. later, i tried to resing it to make it better but the honesty of the original was the best so remains on the record to this day. Duncan played the slide guitar on this track which I love. Somehow the slide file got damaged and some mastermind who is credited on the record saved it.

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Praise Me

emailJohn saw Saint Ralph and got chills when Gord Downie sang "Hallelujah" at the end of the big race. I know how John felt because I felt it too. John followed up his chills the way everyone follows up these chills. He Googled the song, hoping to hear it or buy it.

John quickly found my many entries on the song and requested the MP3 I share of the song. I passed it on, as I always do, and received this great reply.

Dear Mike

I can't thank you enough. Gord Downie's version give's me chills every time I hear it. The film and the music must have had a big impact on you too.

Well, you may not realize it but you too are creating a lot of positive impact out in this world - and that's a truly wonderful choice. You can't have any idea of how happy I am right now. Not only because I can listen to this moving and inspiring music, but also what you do is just as inspiring. Trust me on that point - it's way bigger than you can know.

Thanks again

John C

PS I don't know if you are a "great Canadian" (I don't know what the qualifications for that are) but you are definitely in my book of great human beings.

If this blog can inspire just one person a day, mission accomplished.


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Fraggle Rock Movie Update

moviesBuffalo Boy just wrote about the Fraggle Rock movie and it caught me off guard. I had no idea there was going to be a Fraggle Rock film.

I hit up Wiki for the 411.

In May 2008 it was announced that The Weinstein Company will be distributing the Fraggle Rock movie. The film is being written as a live-action musical by Cory Edwards, who will also direct. The film will be produced by The Jim Henson Company; Ahmet Zappa is still executive producing along with Brian Inerfeld. The film will involve all of the core characters from the series. The story will take the characters "outside of their home in Fraggle Rock, where they interact with humans, which they think are aliens."

I was a big Fraggle Rock fan, and I'd love to be able to take my kids to a Fraggle Rock movie. I just hope it's good.

Please be good.

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USS - Hollowpoint Sniper Hyperbole

slsI'm submitting a song for SLS19 consideration. I'm submitting "Hollowpoint Sniper Hyperbole" by USS.

I'm told USS stands for Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker. I heard these guys talking to Bookie tonight on 102.1 and their stuff has a great sound. They'll be at Edgefest, so I'll see them July 19. This is their breakthrough single.

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Bullshit Statistics

calculator"Oh, people can come up with statistics to prove anything, Kent. 14% of people know that." ~ Homer Jay Simpson has a nice list of the 6 most frequently quoted bullshit statistics. The six are:

  • You Accidentally Swallow About 8 Spiders a Year
  • You Only Use 10% of Your Brain
  • Men Think About Sex Every Seven Seconds
  • Spousal Abuse Skyrockets on Super Bowl Sunday
  • You Must Wait 30 Minutes After Eating Before Swimming
  • Christmas Causes Suicide

Only fools believe that men think about sex every 7 seconds. I mean, who can make it that long?

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Remove the Bottleneck

red crossIn late December 2004, I wrote about the 23,000 who perished in the Boxing Day tsunami in south and east Asia. That 23,000 total ended up being a small fraction of the actual number of casualties. Over 225,000 died as a result of that Indian Ocean earthquake.

Earlier this month, Cyclone Nargis struck Burma (also known as Myanmar) and at least 23,335 people have died with a further 37,019 people still missing. The U.N. has suggested the death toll is likely to be more than 100,000.

My question is simple. Why did the tsunami strike such a chord and result in numerous celebrity benefits and an overwhelming outpouring of united relief when I sense the attention and eagerness to assist Burma (also known as Myanmar) pales by comparison?

The simple answer is to blame Burma's military junta who declared that their acceptance of international aid relief would be limited to food, medicines and other supplies as well as financial aid, but would not allow additional foreign aid workers or military units to operate in the country.

More than a week after the disaster, only one out of 10 people who are homeless, injured or threatened by disease and hunger have received some kind of aid. These delays are killing thousands. This secretive and selfish military junta is a bottleneck that needs to be removed.

We can't collectively throw up our arms and declare the situation helpless, but I'm not sure what alternatives will bear essential fruit.

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2008 Playoff Pool: Day Thirty-Four

PuckWe might be looking at two conference final sweeps. Red Wings vs. Penguins would make for a pretty exciting final. Go Pens Go!

In the pool, the race for 2nd is heating up. Ryan currently holds down that spot with 79, Patino and Pops have 78 and Alexi has 77.

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The Monday Shuffle

iTunesI used to have this feature where every Monday I'd shuffle my entire MP3 collection in iTunes and list the first ten songs that played. I'm not sure why I stopped. I think I'll start it up again.

Here are the ten tunes I heard today with a personal story about one of them.

  1. 120 - Custom
  2. What A Difference A Day Mad - Sarah Vaghan
  3. The Sorrowful Wife - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
  4. 16 Horses - Soul Coughing
  5. Natural Beauty - Neil Young
  6. Sweet Home Chicago - Robert Johnson
  7. 1989 - Mindless Self Indulgence
  8. New Year's Day - U2
  9. World Container - The Tragically Hip
  10. Church For Thugs - The Game

I haven't written about Custom in a while because I'm baffled. Custom is a multi-talented Canadian musician and director living in Manhattan I befriended a few years ago. He released a very cool album in 2002 called Fast which includes the wicked "120" that just played during my shuffle.

Custom contacted me in early 2005 after he stumbled upon something I wrote about "Hey Mister". We hit it off instantly, and I ended up helping him rescue his domain name from his old label that went under. He also let me build him a site and start up the official Custom forum. He also sent me his new material which sounds fantastic. Over the past few years, I'd hear that he was "this close" to signing a new deal and getting his tunes back in the airwaves. Now, I'm just baffled. This stuff is awesome but the only place you'll hear it is on my iPod.

Custom, you multi-talented freak. Screw the record companies. Let's get the music out there and let it spread organically. Enough of this "hurry up and wait" bullshit. We can do this ourselves.

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Defeating the Purpose

canada hockeyCanada plays Finland today in IIHF World Hockey Championship action. Game time is 3:30, and if you're a regular joe like me, that means you'll be stuck in an office for most of the game.

Throughout this tournament, being held in Canada for the first time, this has been the case. The games take place in the afternoon while we work. The only game I've seen thus far was our 10-1 drubbing of Germany on Saturday.

You'd think with the tournament taking place in Halifax and Quebec City that Canada would get the 7pm or 7:15pm slot. Go figure.

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Rob Ducey: Toronto-Born

blue jaysI'm featuring 1988 Topps Cards featuring members of my beloved Blue Jays that are featured on this blog.

Last week, I wrote about Toronto-born Joe Votto and called him "the best Toronto-born ballplayer since Rob Ducey". Right on cue, here's Robert Thomas Ducey.

Ducey was a utility outfielder who played in Toronto between 1987-1992 and again in 2000. He was used sparingly, never getting more than 76 at bats in any one season for the Jays, but he actually had a pretty long major league career. He played in the bigs from 1987 until 2001 and he was a designated hitter for Team Canada in the 2004 Summer Olympics.

Here's an interesting Rob Ducey tid bit from the 88 Topps Card blog.

Ducey was involved in a strange set of transactions in 2000. The Phillies traded him to Toronto on July 26 for minor-leaguer John Sneed. Then, on August 7, he was traded back to the Phillies for Mickey Morandini. Morandini himself was returning to the Phillies, who had previously traded him away to the Cubs for Doug Glanville. Weird.

Rob Ducey

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Google Friend Connect

googleThe Google Press Center just made an announcement about Google Friend Connect. Here's what Google Friend Connect entails.

Websites that are not social networks may still want to be social -- and now they can be, easily. With Google Friend Connect (see following this evening's Campfire One), any website owner can add a snippet of code to his or her site and get social features up and running immediately without programming -- picking and choosing from built-in functionality like user registration, invitations, members gallery, message posting, and reviews, as well as third-party applications built by the OpenSocial developer community.

Visitors to any site using Google Friend Connect will be able to see, invite, and interact with new friends, or, using secure authorization APIs, with existing friends from social sites on the web, including Facebook, Google Talk, hi5, orkut, Plaxo, and more.

I love this idea. I don't know if it will stick, but I'm going to implement Google Friend Connect right here, just for kicks. Stay tuned.


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Remember When SNL Was Funny?

TVI remember when Saturday Night Live was funny. Guys like Adam Sandler, David Spade, Phil Hartman, Mike Myers, Norm Macdonald, Chris Farley and Dana Carvey were always good for a few laughs on a Saturday night. Then, when those guys moved on, there were funny dudes like Darrell Hammond, Cheri Oteri, Jim Breuer, Colin Quinn, Tracy Morgan and Will Ferrell. Take my word for it, SNL could be comedic.

I read a couple of items online about a pasting Hillary Clinton got on the SNL opening skit last night, and I just got around to checking it out. In the Hillary ~ Obama battle, I'm an Obama supporter, but that doesn't mean I enjoyed Amy Poehler's "Message to America".

I just didn't find it the least bit funny. Does anyone find this funny?

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Thanks, Mom

Happy Mothers DayI have a mother I love very much and I want to wish her a very happy Mother's Day. My two angels have a mother they love very much and I want to wish her a very happy Mother's Day. My mom has a mother she loves very much and I want to wish her a happy Mother's Day. My nephew has a mother he loves very much and I want to wish her a very happy Mother's Day. Hell, if you're a mother, Happy Mother's Day!

Here's some sweet CanCon that says it all:

I've got money in my pockets,
I like the color of my hair.
I've got a friend who loves me,
Got a house, I've got a car.
I've got a good mother,
and her voice is what keeps me here.

Cue Jann Arden...

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Alpha Dog

A Movie ReelAlpha Dog: 7 out of 10.

I was worried about this one because Justin Timberlake almost single handedly ruined Black Snake Moan on his own, but he didn't suck quite as bad in Alpha Dog. Alpha Dog reminded me a great deal of Bully, another film I enjoyed. They'd make a great 1-2 punch.

Like Bully, this film is based on a real-life incident. It's all about Jesse James Hollywood who is currently awaiting trial in California. Here's his America's Most Wanted profile.

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2008 Playoff Pool: Day Thirty-Two

PuckI want to give props to all the mothers in our pool. Enjoy your special day, you're the grease that makes the world go 'round.

For the rest of the story, visit

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The Black Keys - Strange Times

slsI'm submitting a song for SLS19 consideration. I'm submitting "Strange Times" by The Black Keys.

I instantly liked this tune, from the first time I heard it. I know there's an official video featuring Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney playing laser tag, but I couldn't find it, so this will have to do.

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Games We Played in the Schoolyard

schoolI attended primary school from 1978 until 1989. That makes me somewhat of an authority on schoolyard games played during recess and lunch in West Toronto during the 1980s.

This entry isn't about the typical games kids play, like baseball or catch or tag, this is about two games we took very seriously at St. Pius X. Both games required a wall and a tennis ball, and I haven't played either since I graduated to high school.

Butt's Up a.k.a. Redass

In hindsight, this was a nasty little game. It wouldn't surprise me one bit to learn Butt's Up a.k.a. Redass has been banned from schoolyards. Basically, you throw a tennis ball at the wall, and catch it. If you touch the ball and fail to catch it, you have to run to the wall before someone else picks up the ball and throws it at the wall. If you fail to make it to the wall before the ball does, you're forced to stand with your face against the wall while the other players take turns whipping the ball at your butt. Now you know where the names come from.

We, being good Catholic kids who avoided swears in the names of our games, always called this game Butt's Up, but at some point a kid from another school transferred over and told us the game was actually called Redass.


Our handball was nothing like the lacrosse-like handball you see where a team attempts to score on a net. Our handball was sort of like squash with our hands where we would hit the tennis ball so it bounced once on the ground and then hit the wall. You could hit it on a bounce, or on the fly. If the ball bounced twice before the next person returned it, something happened. Here's where my memory gets a little fuzzy. I can't remember if you got a point and the first person to six was out or if you got a letter and started spelling a word, soft of like Horse.

I do remember that we would call "no sidesies" and the better players developed an awesome topspin so it would hit the wall and die. We would also peel the cover off the tennis ball to give it more bounce.

That's how we rolled in West Toronto in the 80s. Does anyone else remember Butt's Up, Redass or Handball?

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My Favourite Greatest Hits Collections

cdGreatest Hits albums are a great way to introduce yourself to a musician, especially when you're too young to appreciate the meat of an artist's career. I was just reading a list of the best "best of" albums, and it got me thinking about my favourite "Greatest Hits" collections.

Neil  Young - DecadeNeil Young - Decade

Why It Mattered
In the 1980s, I was a member of Columbia House. You got a bunch of CDs for a penny if you bought a certain amount at regular price over the next few years or something like that. From Columbia House, I ordered Neil Young's double album Decade and I was smitten. If you don't know Neil, start with this compilation and fall in love.

Alice in Chains - Greatest HitsAlice In Chains - Greatest Hits

Why It Mattered
Only ten songs deep, this is Dirt and more. If I just want a power punch of 90s nostalgia, this is my go-to album. Everyone talks about Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden. Alice In Chains belongs in that group.

The Beatles - 1962-1966The Beatles - Red and Blue double albums

Why It Mattered
The red one covered 1962–1966 and the blue one covered 1967-1970 and if you missed the 60s this was an awesome way to familiarize oneself with the Beatles catalogue. Four CDs in total, all the hits are here from arguably the best band in the history of rock n' roll.

Blue Rodeo - Greatest HitsBlue Rodeo - Greatest Hits

Why It Mattered
I started out as a Blue Rodeo fan. I loved "Try" and "Diamond Mine", but then I lost track of these guys. Maybe I felt they were a little too country for me, I dunno, but this fantastic greatest hits compilation reminded me how awesome Blue Rodeo are.

Alice Cooper - Greatest HitsAlice Cooper - Greatest Hits

Why It Mattered
In the late 80s and very early 90s I would hang at Joe's where his brother Frank would show off their stereo that actually went to 11. They cranked a lot of Ozzy and Van Halen and Alice Cooper's Greatest Hits. The Ozzy was alright and the Van Halen was okay, but the Alice Cooper struck a chord. I still love this album.

Rolling Stones - Hot RocksThe Rolling Stones - Hot Rocks

Why It Mattered
For people born in the 70s or later, Hot Rocks should be a prescribed rite of passage. My father had this double album in vinyl and that's when I first discovered it. It's hit laden, as you can imagine, and even though I don't consider myself a Rolling Stones fan today, I most definitely was for a few years in the 80s thanks to Hot Rocks.

James Taylor - Greatest HitsJames Taylor - Greatest Hits

Why It Mattered
This is actually the only James Taylor album I own and I don't feel compelled to buy another. "Sweet Baby James", song #4 on this compact disc, had such an impact on me, I named my first born son after it.

Simon and Garfunkel - Greatest HitsSimon & Garfunkel - Greatest Hits

Why It Mattered
Such sweet melodies, such a wonderful blend of voices, such American classics. I had to to play a little catch-up here so I delved into their Greatest Hits while in high school. Their recordings are just so damn pretty I'd pause Appetite for Destruction just to chill to "The Sounds of Silence".

Kenny Rogers - Greatest HitsKenny Rogers - Greatest Hits

Why It Mattered
Tomorrow is Mother's Day. Why does Kenny Roger's Greatest Hits matter? It's all right here in black and white. When it comes to the music you like, where you come from will always play a role.

Bob Marley - LegendBob Marley - Legend

Why It Mattered
Speaking of rites of passage, Legend from Bob Marley is essential listening for every teenager. I've since accumulated several other Bob Marley albums, but I still find myself going back to Legend when I'm in the mood for a little reggae.

Lynyrd Skynyrd - Skynyrds InnyrdsLynyrd Skynyrd - Skynyrd's Innyrds

Why It Mattered
I must confess, for a period in the early 90s, I really got into "Free Bird". There's a ten minute outtake version that appears on Skynyrd's Innyrds that I would play over and over and over again. I'm not ashamed to admit I still love that version.

Janis Joplin - Greatest HitsJanis Joplin - Greatest Hits

Why It Mattered
I'm still searching for a female voice in rock that can do what Janis did. Some say Pearl is all you need from Janis, but Pearl doesn't have "Piece of My Heart" or "Summertime".

Billy Idol - Vital IdolBilly Idol - Vital Idol

Why It Mattered
Between Duran Duran and Guns N' Roses, there was Billy Idol. Billy Idol remixed the hits form his first two albums and released Vital Idol in 1987. Actually, I'm told it came out in 1985, but I didn't buy the cassette until 1987. I've since picked up the CD (which is now ripped to MP3) because it is, after all, vital Idol.

The Best of the Guess WhoThe Guess Who - The Best of the Guess Who

Why It Mattered
As a kid, I really only knew "American Woman" and "These Eyes" until I heard "Share the Land" on Q107. I needed to hear what else these Winnipeggers were up to as they paved the way for the many Canadian bands I already had in my Walkman. This album introduced me to "Laughing", "No Time", "No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature" and other fantastic Cummings / Bachman classics.

CCR - ChronicleCreedence Clearwater Revival - Chronicle

Why It Mattered
CCR was an absolutely brilliant rock band with that swampy Southern feel. If you're about my age, or younger, this is really all you need. It's 20 of their best singles essential listening for anyone with a pulse.

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2008 Playoff Pool: Day Thirty-One

PuckI watched most of the Battle of Pennsylvania and it was pretty entertaining. Forget Sid the Kid, this Malkin youngster is incredible. If Pittsburgh continues to get good goaltending, they might be unstoppable.

I would love to see Gary Roberts win another cup. 19 years between Stanley Cup wins might be a record. Has anyone gone longer between wins?

For the rest of the story, visit

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Jayde Nicole Ends Drought

canadaI see at Canadian Thinker that the drought is finally over.

26 years ago, Canadian Shannon Tween was named Playboy's Playmate of the Year. For the first time since, that title belongs to another Canadian. Jayde Nicole, 22, of Port Perry, Ontario, has been named Playboy's 2008 Playmate of the Year.

Here's her video data sheet. Meh... I've seen better.

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Toronto Rocks Promo With John Mahjor

memoryYouTube user Retrontario frequently uploads fantastic retro-Toronto-centric gems. These clips never fail to bring back a ton of memories for me, so I feature them from time to time.

When John Mahjor passed away last year, I issued a Toronto Rocks host clarification. Major was the host of Toronto Rocks, but I could only find a YouTube clip featuring Brad Giffen, who eventually took over for Mahjor.

Thanks to Retrontario, I now have a sweet City-TV Toronto Rocks promo from 1984.

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Bob Cole and My Free Newspaper

megaphoneFor the past few weeks, we've been getting the Globe and Mail delivered to our home each morning. There's nothing particularly interesting about that fact, except we don't pay for it. We pay for the Saturday Globe and Mail, but I'm guessing they've been sending us weekday papers in the hopes we'd get hooked and order a full week's subscription.

Tonight, as I read both the Star and Globe, I came across William Houston's article about Bob Cole. Here's what Houston has to say about Cole.

There is no middle ground when it comes to the senior play-by-play voice of Hockey Night in Canada.

He is either liked, a lot, or not.

I've always been a big fan of Bob Cole. I've heard others tell me how confused he gets and how often he calls the wrong name, but this has never bothered me. Cole has a fantastic voice and gives a game drama. If the Leafs are playing game seven of the Stanley Cup finals, there's only one man I want doing the play by play.

He'll be 139 years old, but he'll still call a great game.

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The Best Winnipeg Bands

The Number FiveMy favourite bands from Winnipeg, Manitoba

  1. The Guess Who
  2. The Watchmen
  3. The Weakerthans
  4. Crash Test Dummies
  5. Econoline Crush

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2008 Playoff Pool: Day Thirty

PuckFor the three of you still following the world's greatest NHL playoff pool, Drew is about to gallop far, far away from the pack. He got five points yesterday from the Red Wings and nobody else had more than one. Drew's going to win $170.

In Nova Scotia, $170 makes him a millionaire!

For the rest of the story, visit

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Promoting on the Radio

radioWe just launched Canadian Thinker on Tuesday, but Freddie P's been hitting the airwaves spreading the word. Yesterday Fred appeared on John Derringer's morning show on Q107.

Fred also appeared on The Rock out of Windsor and talked about nothing but I listened to this audio with a great deal of pride, even though Fred failed to give Toronto Mike a shout out.

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Yes, We Shall, Cobra Commander

videosMove over Obama. Cobra Commander is running for President of the United States.

Yes, we shall!

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Every Simpsons Couch Gag Ever

homerThis likely took a long time to put together, but I'm glad someone put forth the effort. This is every couch gag in the history of The Simpsons.

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Toronto's Joey Votto Joins Elite Club

mlbJoey Votto was drafted straight out of Richview Collegiate Institute in Etobicoke by the Cincinnati Reds. He made his MLB debut in September 2007, hitting a home run in his 2nd at bat.

Last night, against the Chicago Cubs, Votto went deep three times. It was his 57th career game, and only a small handful of players have hit 3 homers in a single game this early in their career. In fact, according to Stat of the Day, only 4 other players have done it since 1956.

Votto's the best Toronto-born ballplayer since Rob Ducey.

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Alpha-Getti Ad Kid Spills Deets About Gobbler

microphoneYesterday, I shared the elusive Alpha-Getti ad featuring the Alpha-Getti Gobbler. Ryan Barnett was the boy at the table who didn't say "You're the Alpha-Getti Gobbler!". Yesterday, he was kind enough to share details about the shoot and his memories of the ad.

While taking a break from work I wondered if any of my old commercials I did ever made it on You tube.  To name a few, McDonalds (Starring Lanny McDonald), a Movie with David Copperfield, Mr. Clean, Rice Krispies, Boots Drug Stores (Remember these stores?) and of course Alpha Getti.  I typed alphagetti gobbler commercial into google and was stunned by the numerous people talking about this ad on blogs and chat rooms and was stunned that there were no pictures or copies of the commercial lying around.  This is when I stumbled onto your blog and read through all the commentary regarding your post and was shocked by how many people remembered this commercial 

It felt kind of crazy to me that people actually remembered this ad, it was definitely a good one but it was soooo long ago!  I remember that this ad ran on Canada tv for about 5 years and people loved the famous line "Your the alpha getti gobbler".  I'm definitely not a big shot movie star, espescially now because I'm a Chartered Accountant at 30 years old.  But I can't lie, it feels pretty damn cool! 

My commercial career ended in my childhood days when I lost my baby teeth and they told me that without a smile I was out of a job.  I guess that's how the commercial life goes.  I can't complain though, all my commercials from my younger days paid fully and completely for my University education.

I don't remember anything about the kid who said the famous line but the commercial was filmed in downtown Toronto and it was a local casting so I'm thinking the kid with the famous line was also from Ontario but I could be wrong.

I remember doing the ad with that big yellow "gobbler".  Technology was not very updated back then and I remember that someone had to get into the suit but parts of the suits were mechanic and moved with remote control.  But for the record, it wasn't all a machine there was definitely a person inside that creature.  I also remember a bunch of the kids in the ad were frightened by this big device they didn't know what to expect from it and getting everyone to concentrate on the ad was a task.

I'm really glad I stumbled on your blog and now hopefully the empty void of people not being able to remember the good old commercials in today's world filled with such crappy commercials can be filled.

Anyways... I hope by me stumbling on this blog allows many people can relive the good old days and enjoy one of the great commercials of the past.

If you haven't seen the ad yet, it's right here waiting for you. Thanks Ryan, for sharing the video with me and for giving us further details about this commercial.


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Eddy Arnold, Rest in Peace

In MemoriumEddy Arnold was 89. His mellow baritone on songs like "Make the World Go Away" made him one of the most successful country singers in history.

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Opening Night Double Header

baseballSummer officially starts Monday when Raging Storm plays their first games of the season. We've got a double header as we test the waters in the Comp division.

I've been playing on this slo-pitch team for years, and since we won the highest intermediate division last year, we've been bumped up to the most competitive division in the RSPA. It might be time for a reality check.

We'll see how we do with a couple of games against Down & Dirty on Monday night. It's time to play ball.

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The Alpha-Getti Gobbler Ad

rewindBlogging is one of the cooler hobbies. If there's something I can't find anywhere, I just need to write about it and eventually someone who can help me will find my entry and make my day. This happened with the Saint Ralph soundtrack, when I couldn't find or buy Gord Downie's version of "Hallelujah", and it's happened again.

In April 2007 I found myself blurting out "you're the Alpha-Getti Gobbler" to my daughter. That sparked a memory of an Alpha-Getti commercial I saw numerous times as a kid. I hit the web searching for the ad or at least a screen cap and I came up empty. That's when I wrote this entry about the Alpha-Getti Gobbler, now #1 when you Google this elusive beast.

Over a year passed until Ryan Barnett left a comment on that entry. He was Googling the ad and found my entry. Ryan Barnett was one of the three children in the Alpha-Getti Gobbler ad and he had the advertisement on DVD. That sparked this Gobbler alert from earlier today.

Not only has Ryan agreed to an interview, but he's already ripped the ad to a digital file that he's kindly emailed to me. I promptly uploaded the vid to my YouTube account, and now, without further ado, I'm sharing the hold grail of canned pasta ads. Here's the Alpha-Getti Gobbler.

Related entries:

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Deciding Who Can Die

medicalDoctors are debating who would die in a pandemic. A list of new recommendations have appeared in the May edition of Chest, the medical journal of the American College of Chest Physicians.

To prepare, hospitals should designate a triage team with the Godlike task of deciding who will and who won't get lifesaving care, the task force wrote. Those out of luck are the people at high risk of death and a slim chance of long-term survival. But the recommendations get much more specific, and include:

  • People older than 85.
  • Those with severe trauma, which could include critical injuries from car crashes and shootings.
  • Severely burned patients older than 60.
  • Those with severe mental impairment, which could include advanced Alzheimer's disease.
  • Those with a severe chronic disease, such as advanced heart failure, lung disease or poorly controlled diabetes.

This has raised all sorts of ethical questions. Can doctors ethically let someone die? Is it fair to value one life more than another? Does this strategy discriminate against the poor?

I'm glad these discussions are taking place and that we're preparing a blueprint for hospitals when pandemic flu or another widespread health-care disaster hits. That's when it hits, not if it hits, because it's just a matter of time before doctors are forced to refer to such rules.

The fact is, if there are two people and only one can be treated, both lives are not equal. It's not easy to admit, but it's a sensible truth. Why work on reviving a 70 year old man with heart problems if there's a healthy 30 year old woman to treat? When it's time to make these tough calls, I want everybody on the same page.

And yes, I write this as a healthy 30 something year old, but sincerely believe I'd feel the same if I were a sickly 80 year old. Just ask me in 50 years.

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Paul Maurice Fired

leafsWe interrupt our regularly scheduled blogging with some big news from our beloved Toronto Maple Leafs. The Leafs have fired head coach Paul Maurice.

Maurice spent two seasons behind the bench of the Maple Leafs, posting a record of 76-66-22. The Leafs missed the playoffs both seasons.

The overhaul is underway. Who's next?

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Blue Rodeo - 5 Days in May

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.

Blue Rodeo - 5 Days in May
Here's a sweet track from Blue Rodeo for a fine May day.

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Gobbler Alert

exclamationmarkLadies and gentlemen, we have a breakthrough on the Alphaghetti Gobbler front. One of the kids who appeared in that elusive ad has left a comment on this entry and he's agreed to be interviewed by yours truly.

First, a little background on why this is a big deal. I have strong memories of the Alphaghetti Gobbler, a giant spaghetti mascot to whom a kid famously exclaimed "You're the Alphaghetti Gobbler!". I'm not the only one who remembers this ad, as the 23 comments on that entry attest, but here's the kicker. None of us can find any visual evidence that that Alphaghetti Gobbler ever existed. There are no images, no screen caps, no videos on the web.

There were a few kids at that table when that kid said "You're the Alphaghetti Gobbler!", and I'll be peppering one with questions later today. If you have a question for this guy, leave a comment here and I'll add it to my list.

This is the reason Al Gore invented the Internet.

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Webby Award For Best Culture / Personal Blog

webThe Webby Awards are the Oscars of the web. I'm always interested in checking out the winners, especially the winner for Best Culture / Personal Blog. Boy was I surprised this year to learn it's me!

Ok, I didn't win. It was an honour not even being nominated. The actual winner is PostSecret, "an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard."

If you haven't discovered PostSecret yet, you're missing out. I spent a week there one day.


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Get Out the Salami and Cheese, Chuck Swirsky Leaves Toronto

raptorsI didn't see this one coming. Chuck Swirsky is leaving his role as play-by-play announcer for the Toronto Raptors for a similar role with the Chicago Bulls. For ten years he was the voice of Raptors basketball but he's leaving us for "family reasons".

Love him or hate him, you noticed him. Swirsky was full of enthusiasm, cut from that Dick Vitale mold with the catch phrases and signature calls. He showed up in 1999, but I can't really remember who called the games before he arrived. Was it Rod Black? Was it Paul Romanuk?

I don't know who will call television games for the Raps next season, but they'll likely give Paul Jones a long look. Personally, I don't think Jones is ready for prime time. I say give the gig to Bob Cole.

Here's a little salami and cheese, Swirsky style.

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Stay Calm. Carry On.

bluejaysSometimes I don't know my own strength. The Jays were stinking up the joint when I took matters into my own hands on May 1 by sharing "We Got The Blue Jays (R.B.I. Single Version)". That was five games ago, and we haven't lost since.

Combined, Toronto's starters have given up eight earned runs in their last 66 innings and just a ratio of 0.724 WHIP. We've allowed a mere 12 runs in our last nine games, posting three shutouts over that span.

Stay calm. Carry on.

BJ Birdy

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Canadian Thinker

canada blogFor the past year, Freddie P and I have been discussing an idea he's had for a national blog. He envisioned a national forum where people discuss domestic issues and he wanted to call it Canadian Thinker. Finally, a couple of months ago, we hooked up at Kelsey's and literally started sketching the concept.

I could see Canadian Thinker, a voice for what's right in Canada, but it was the right-ness of the voice that conflicted with my personal political views. I tend to lean a lot further to the left than Fred when it comes to such matters, and I can't write passionately about subjects unless it's coming from the heart. Still, I loved the idea, and I wanted to partner with Freddie on this, so we agreed that Fred would author the entries and I would primarily lend my technical, design and marketing expertise to the project.

From the Canadian Thinker "About" page:

Canadian Thinker is exactly what is says it is. A forum for concerned thinking Canadians who are tired of the politically correct quagmire that we find ourselves in.

At we find it sad that so many Canadians can't say what they think, and we don't mean extreme nonsense that does nothing to improve our way of life in Canada, we mean fair rational points of view that are often stifled by unfounded accusations of intolerance and ignorance. is for all Canadians. A place to gather to state your point of view. is Fred Patterson, long time Toronto radio personality and Toronto Mike, long time Toronto blogger.

Please add Canadian Thinker to your bookmarks and chime in on issues that effect our Country. And please, if you disagree with Fred, let him have it in the comments.

Welcome to

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50 Most Memorable Moments in Sesame Street History

Link50 Most Memorable Moments in Sesame Street History - We throw around the word "love" these days. We love our sports teams, our new jacket and that brand of cereal. We love so much stuff, love doesn't mean what it used to. The brand has been diluted.

I'm bringing integrity back to the word "love" with this concluding sentence. I love this collection of the best Sesame Street bits like you wouldn't believe.

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The Love Guru Sans Hockey

moviesThe first trailer I shared for The Love Guru featured quite a bit of hockey. The new trailer doesn't introduce the NHL until the 1:36 mark.

I'll bet the whole hockey angle wasn't testing well with American audiences. As we know, Americans don't like hockey. I'll bet the suits ordered the hockey stripped out of the trailers. Watch the new Love Guru trailer below.

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Reign Over Me

A Movie ReelReign Over Me: 6 out of 10.

My favourite part of Reign Over Me is the music. Charlie Fineman escapes into his iPod and many of the tunes he plays are used as background music. Some of the best belong to Bruce Springsteen and The Who.

The Who's "Love, Reign o'er Me" gave this film its name and acts as the climatic yell. The Who's original version plays near the end and Pearl Jam's wicked cover plays at the conclusion. Damn Eddie kills on this tune.

And speaking of musicians, Adam Sandler looks an awful lot like Bob Dylan in this movie. It's freaky.

The movie itself is promise unfulfilled. It's uneven and convenient at times, even though there's a good film buried in there somewhere. I wanted Reign Over Me to be better than it was. I wanted it to be as good as its soundtrack.

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2008 Playoff Pool: Day Twenty-Six

PuckI enjoyed that Pittsburgh game yesterday afternoon. The Rangers fought back to force OT and the Pens pulled it out in OT to end the series in five. I wonder how Sens fans feel seeing Hossa come through in the playoff clutch.

With the Rangers and Sharks exiting stage right, Marc and Ryan are down to two players. Drew has this locked up and the fight is for 2nd place. My money is on Patino.

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Cherry Blossoms in High Park

picturesI spend a lot of time at High Park. Every year, at about this time, the cherry blossoms at High Park bloom. Cherry blossoms are nature's fireworks, so beautiful but oh so brief. Before the know it, the blossoms have blown away.

From Wikipedia:

High Park in Toronto, ON features many Somei-Yoshino cherry trees (the earliest species to bloom and much loved by the Japanese for their fluffy white flowers) that were given to Toronto by Japan in 1959. Through the Sakura Project, the Japanese Embassy donated a further 34 cherry trees to High Park in 2001, plus cherry trees to various other locations like Exhibition Place, McMaster University and the University of Toronto's main and Scarborough campuses.

James and I took a trip to High Park today to soak it all in and snap some pictures. If you live in Toronto and have never seen the cherry blossoms in High Park, get over there now because this won't last much longer.

Here's a photoset I just created with the many photos I just took.

Cherry Blossoms @ High Park

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The Weakerthans - Tournament of Hearts

slsI'm submitting a song for SLS19 consideration. I'm submitting "Tournament of Hearts" by The Weakerthans.

This song reminds me of the previous Weakerthans single, "Civil Twilight", which I also dug. You know a band's Canadian when they drop curling references in their song lyrics. I couldn't find an official video, but here's the tune.

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2008 Playoff Pool: Day Twenty-Five

PuckLast night, I had the delightful pleasure of greying out the Montreal players taken in our draft. They're done, having lost four straight games to the Flyers. I really feel for Habs fans throughout this great country.

In the pool, Drew has a slim lead over Marc, Ryan and Pops. I should be scratching off Rangers later this afternoon.

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Sam Roberts - Them Kids

slsI'm submitting a song for SLS19 consideration. I'm submitting "Them Kids" by Sam Roberts.

I love this tune, even though the opening totally reminds me of My Morning Jacket's "One Big Holiday". Or maybe that's why I love it...

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yahooMicrosoft is withdrawing its offer for Yahoo! after talks between the two companies broke down on Saturday.

My reaction can be summed up in one word... Yahoo!

Previously on Toronto Mike:

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Dumbest Game Ever

thumbs downWhen I was young, there were dangers with the choking cake, but we never played the choking game. As shocking as this will seem, we were way too smart to play the choking game, which I hear is a big hit amongst today's youth.

The choking game, also known as the fainting game, "is a loose term that covers dangerous activities designed to induce a partial or complete loss of consciousness brought about by the intentional deprivation of oxygen to the brain for a period of time. There are two distinct methods used to achieve oxygen deprivation: strangulation and self-induced hypocapnia."

The term 'game' is used because these activities have typically been pursued by children as recreation; the practice among adults appears to be uncommon and generally in the different context of the pursuit of erotic asphyxiation. However, experts state that for some teens, the choking game can take on elements of erotic asphyxiation.

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health study in 2008 found that at least 79,000 students in the Canadian province of Ontario participated in this act.

Don't get me wrong, we played some stupid games when I was a teen, but nothing like this. The extent of our stupidity revolved around semi-dangerous skateboard or bicycle stunts, messing around with firecrackers or investigating abandoned buildings at night, but those activities were fun!

The choking game sounds pretty dumb. If deprivation of oxygen to the brain is your game, it's time to shell out for a Game Boy.

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Cuteness Overload @ Ballet Recital

familyI've attended school holiday pageants and Beaver banquets, but until today I had never been to a recital featuring one of my children. That all changed when at 2pm the curtains opened and Michelle's ballet class performed their recital.

When your child is on the stage, you're stricken with tunnel vision. I understand there were ten little girls up there, but I could only focus on one. You study every move she makes, take delight in every jump and every turn. And Lord have mercy it's a severe case of cuteness overload. In my incredibly biased opinion, it don't get much cuter than that.

There were 14 acts, and my daughter starred in the first one. That left me with 13 ballet skits to endure, without a vested interest. They trick you into staying by closing out with all participants on the stage, so you wait it out in order to gain another glimpse of your little starlet. Very clever...

It was awesome. Love rocks.


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The Rapid Decline of Carlos Delgado

mlbI hate it when athletes age and lose their dominance. It happens to everyone, from Michael Jordan to Wayne Gretzky, and it's a cruel reminder that youth is fleeting.

I cringe when I look at New York Mets boxscores because Carlos Delgado is ageing rapidly. He's batting .210 right now, with 3 home runs and 13 RBIs. Those aren't Delgado numbers, and I hear Mets fans boo whenever he makes an out. They sense the end is near and they're looking for blood.

Delgado was an awesome Blue Jay. His 336 homers as a Jay are 133 more than George Bell ever hit for Toronto. His 1058 RBIs are also a club record. In one of his final games as a Jay, I watched him hit one out. It was the first game my son ever attended and I made sure he knew how lucky he was to witness a Carlos Delgado bomb. He wasn't just deadly at the plate, he was also drenched in integrity. Who didn't love Carlos Delgado at first base for the Blue Jays?

Soon, we'll just be left with the memories. Thankfully, Delgado will leave us with a tonne of 'em.

James' First Game

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The Empire Strikes Barack

star warsI enjoyed this.

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Radiohead - All I Need

musicThis is a new Radiohead video, and it's pretty good. Radiohead's In Rainbows actually gets better with every subsequent listen, and I'd be submitting this for SLS consideration except we only allow one song per artist and I'm reserving that spot for "Jigsaw Falling Into Place".

It's two children with very different lives in different necks of the wood and it's pretty chilling.

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When Headlines Write Themselves

newspaperIn sports, you can often guess the headline. For example, if the Jays gets stomped by the Kansas City Royals, the headline might be "Jays Crowned By Royals". If the Raptors are beat up by Chicago, the headline might be "Raptors Can't Run With Bulls". You get the idea.

Last night, in the first game of their second round series, the Toronto Marlies were beat 5-1 by the Syracuse Crunch. Who wants to guess today's headlines?

Occam's razor could have been about headline writing. All things being equal, the most obvious pun is always best.

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2008 Playoff Pool: Day Twenty-Four

PuckThis morning I had to drop my daughter off at her ballet recital. They're going to work out the kinks before we all show up to witness their grace. Walking the hallways of the school who should I bump into? Mr. 75 points, Drew.

We're not done the 2nd round, but this cat has tripled my output. He gave me a smirk, told me he's going to run away from the pack and then threw me a bone. He told me it's actually quite difficult to put up such a horrible score without the perception you're tanking. Yes my friends, that was the plan all along, and I succeeded in glorious fashion.

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How to Talk Blue Jays Baseball With Bob McCown

radioDave just left an awesome comment on my Bob McCown vs. Bill Watters entry. It's a list of 8 things you should do if you want to talk baseball with Bob McCown, host of Prime Time Sports of The Fan 590. I like this list because it's both well written and pretty accurate.

Want to talk baseball with Bob--this city's sports demagogue. Do the following:

1: Refer to the thirty-seven, fifty-nine, or eighty-four third basemen brought in by Ricciardi. It doesn't matter if the real number--excluding subs--is something like three or four. The higher the number, the more Bob likes you.

2: Say something like, "This guy hasn't done/brought in anyone." Bob likes that. Don't mention Lind, Hill, Purcey, Snider, Cecil, Marcum, Litsch, Accardo, Tallet, Downs, etc. Bob doesn't know who they are.

3: Say "I mean," and "C'mon." Say them a lot. Here's a template for you to use when you're talking to the screener: "I mean, c'mon, what' this guy doing. I mean, c'mon. Who's he drafting? C'mon, I mean."

4: Tell Bob that this team "has no one" and could never "make a run." Wells, Rios, Hill, and Overbay are .260/10/70 hitters. Not much they can do over a complete season. "How are they gonna compete with Wells and Hill? They got no one there at the corners. They, I mean, they got no one. I mean, they can't make a run."

5: Ignore everything positive about this team. The fact that they're third in the AL (and 6th in MLB) in team ERA? It doesn't matter. "C'mon, I mean, Wells isn't doing anything. C'mon."

6: Banish logic from your argument. The Jays lost two one-run games to Boston, and have already played ten one-run contests. Since they lost said games, they're awful. Had they won said games (by one run) they'd be a great defensive/pitching team.

7: Pretend that slumps never happen: Say something like, "Stairs is on pace to go .300/15/40 this year."

8: Say something that shows your baseball knowledge. Something like, "My buddies and me were talking baseball. Now we know a lot about the game. We follow it. We're experts, you know. But that there Jays third basemen, know...that guy...oh, I can't remember his name. But I know a lot about baseball. Now I don't like him."

Now you're on. OK. Wind him up, and watch him go.

Sometimes comments are too good to keep buried. This one deserved some front page exposure.

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Kicking Horse Coffee

coffeeAt the office, I'm the president of the coffee club. I created a logo and everything. We have a French press and we try different types of coffee. We've got coffee from Brazil, Columbia, Cuba, Mexico, etc.

This morning, we tried Canadian coffee. I was surprised to hear there was such a thing. When I think of Canada, I think of a different beverage. I always assumed Coffee was best grown in warmer climes.

The coffee we tried was called Kicking Horse Coffee and it's "nestled in the heart of the Canadian Rockies and at the headwaters of the mighty Columbia River." Here's a teaser from their site.

Some people say it is the Rocky Mountain air, some people suggest it is the altitude... whatever it is, we're not footing the medical bill if our coffee takes you out with a roundhouse to the taste buds! Traditionally roasted and blended at 3,000 feet above sea level, Kicking Horse offers a 21-flavour portfolio of the very best Organic Fair Trade coffee concoctions in the country.

We didn't love this coffee, but our love of Canada made it taste just a little sweeter. It's a different flavour than I'm used to, sort of ranchy, sort of hard to explain, but it's cool having the option to brew Canadian coffee.

Don't worry Brazil and Columbia, you have nothing to fear.

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Best Songs From 1993

The Number FiveMy favourite songs of 1993

  1. Nirvana - All Apologies
  2. Radiohead - Creep
  3. Smashing Pumpkins - Today
  4. Rage Against the Machine - Killing in the Name Of
  5. Breeders - Cannonball

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2008 Playoff Pool: Day Twenty-Three

PuckOn day 23, my last two active players hit the golf course. Well, they were already inactive due to injury, but now it's official. I will finish this year's pool with 25 points.

To put that in perspective, the last place finisher last year had 47 points. The two years before that the loser had 36 and the year before that 35. You get the idea. 25 points between 10 players is shockingly low. Briere already has 14 on his own. I have set a new standard for shite-ness.

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The iPhone is the One

iphoneThis is been a busy mofo of a week. I'm just coming up for air, was there an announcement about the iPhone coming to Canada?

Oh yes, here it is. In the worst kept secret in Canadian telecom history, Rogers will be bringing Apple's iPhone to Canada later this year.

In 2005, I outlined the ideal phone for me. I wanted a phone that wasn't just a phone, but an MP3 player, web browser and more. Then, in 2007, I declared that I had found what I was looking for, and Apple was calling it the iPhone. The iPhone would be my very first mobile phone.

Since I wrote that entry, work has given me a Blackberry. So long as I'm not seeing an invoice, I won't be switching, but once I'm paying my own way, I'm knocking on Apple's door. The iPhone is the one.


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Home Run - We Got The Blue Jays (R.B.I. Single Version)

jaysThings are going from bad to worse for our Blue Jays. We lost 6 in a row until I single handedly pulled us out of our funk by sharing Shaker's Rap. We won that day, but we haven't won since, so I'm pulling out the heavy artillery.

Joel sent me this song he recently ripped to MP3 from a single he had in his collection. It's called "We Got The Blue Jays" and this is the R.B.I. Single Version. Yes, there were other versions.

Even if you're not a Jays fan, I highly recommend clicking play below. This is a really catchy, surprisingly decent tune. It's guaranteed win night, Toronto. We Got The Blue Jays!

Other awesome Blue Jays audio:

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Throw a Party and Have Nobody Show Up

ticketstubsI've never met Buffalo Boy Mike. He's a big Humble & Fred fan who discovered this blog when I worked with Humble and Fred on their podcasts. I worked with Buffalo Boy on his blog, so I follow his entries with great interest.

Earlier in the week I wrote about Buffalo Boy's Police ticket. He's got an extra ticket to see The Police at the HSBC Arena and he'll give it to anyone who leaves a comment on this entry. You just have to name your price and say why you want the ticket.

Here's the thing... Buffalo Boy has been running this contest all week and nobody has entered. The deadline was last night at midnight, but he's extended it another 24 hours.

I've considered running similar promotions, but my great fear is that nobody will step up. It's like throwing a party and having nobody show up. It's pretty humiliating. I feel awfully bad for Buffalo Boy.

Buffalo Boy, don't take it personally. I'll bet there are interested people out there, but they're practising good safety sense by not agreeing to attend a concert with someone they don't know in the "real world". I'll bet if you offered both tickets, you'd have a few bites.

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2008 Playoff Pool: Day Twenty-Two

PuckI could have swore I heard that Carey Price was the reincarnation of Patrick Roy? That's a ballsy move benching Patrick Roy for Jaroslav Halak.

In the pool, Drew still leads, and he tells me he's moving to Nova Scotia and not New Brunswick. Toronto Mike regrets the error.

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