April 2009 Archives

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Fairplay with Mario, Tony and Bea

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.

Back in 1988, Shopper's Drug Mart ran a PSA encouraging fair play. It starred Pittsburgh Penguin great Mario Lemieux, Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Tony Fernandez and Bea Arthur, who recently passed on.

The premise is faulty, as playing fair doesn't in fact make us all winners, but seeing these three together in one spot make this ad a winner.

Discuss "Fairplay with Mario, Tony and Bea" (4 comments so far)

Unholy Disney Alliance Comes to Full Fruition

moviesMy unholy alliance is finally paying off. Up to now, it's benefited my kids, but not me. I've had media preview screenings of Bolt, Bedtime Stories and Hannah Montana: The Movie. Not quite movies in my wheelhouse, but my daughter got to see Bolt and Hannah Montana while James got to see Bedtime Stories.

Finally, I'm getting sent to a film I actually want to see. I'm getting to see Pixar's Up before it's released wide.

I've referred to Pixar as every parent's saving grace. The last Pixar movie I saw, WALL-E, earned a 9 out of 10 rating from yours truly. Pixar movies aren't consistently good, they're consistently great.

Show time is May 27.

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Squeeze - Tempted

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.

Squeeze - Tempted
I realize it's not Wednesday, but Mike from Lowville just reminded me that I forgot to share an MP3 yesterday. Oops.

Let's go back to 1981 with this great Squeeze track. Which song is better: "Tempted" or "Cool for Cats"?

Discuss "Squeeze - Tempted" (11 comments so far)

Your Guide to Finding High Park's Best Cherry Blossoms

picturesIt's Cherry blossom season in High Park, so many Torontonians will be grabbing their camera and making the trip to snap great shots like these.

I know High Park very well, so I can tell you where you'll find the best Somei-Yoshino cherry trees. Take Cherry Hill down from West Road to Grenadier Pond and you'll find this.

You can thank me later. Here's where those kick ass cherry blossoms are on the map.


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I've Been Farked

MouseI just took a peek at my site stats for today and it seems I've been Farked.

For this photoshop contest on FARK.com, Cornponebread submitted an image based on the infamous Libby's Zoodles can and included this note.

There is a story behind this label. Click here to find out all the sordid details! (Slightly but not really NSFW-ish, but you've been warned)

Go ahead and click that link if you want to see Zoodle Uncensored. It's actually SFW, so you don't have to hide it from the kiddies.

Zoodles are indeed animal noodles.

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Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Zero

slsI'm submitting a song for SLS21 consideration. I'm submitting "Zero" by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

The best new album I've been spinning this week belongs to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. There are several hooky singles oozing out of It's Blitz, including "Zero", a song they recently performed on Saturday Night Live.

I found it interesting that they went with "Maps" as their second tune on SNL. "Maps" was on SLS11 which means it's six years old now. It's still fantastic, btw. When "Zero" makes the cut for SLS21, it will be the Yeah Yeah Yeahs fourth appearance.

Discuss "Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Zero" (2 comments so far)

Killing the Culture of Entitlement Means Pogge Has To Go

LeafersI'm as guilty as anyone. Justin Pogge was awesome during the 2006 World Junior Hockey Championship, and ever since we've been waiting for him to assume his role as Maple Leafs saviour. Here's the entry I wrote in January 2006 in which I opened with the following line. "I have seen the future of Toronto Maple Leafs hockey, and his name is Justin Pogge."

I have a great relationship with the Marlies PR people, and when I told them I wanted to meet Justin Pogge and ask him some questions, they quickly made it happen. He was the only Marlie I wanted to meet. Who wouldn't want to meet the future of Toronto Maple Leafs hockey?

I was there during the low points and the high points. It's been a roller coaster ride with peaks and valleys. When I learnt he was benched for the final playoff game of the season in Winnipeg, I responded with this tweet.

Pogge didn't get the start tonight.... it's Munro starting for the Marlies in the Peg. Whoa, methinks the Pogge era has grinded to a halt.

For the second season in a row, Greg Gilbert passed over Pogge at playoff time. Pogge's NHL record this season was abysmal. There's a reason we picked up Gerber... Pogge isn't anywhere close to being an NHL starting goaltender.

I want to believe, I really do, and that's the problem. There's a culture of entitlement with this franchise that Ron Wilson and Brian Burke are working hard to destroy, and that means Pogge has to go. I hate that this has to happen, but it's for the best.

It's time to get Jonas Gustavsson to compete with Vesa Toskala for the Leafs spot. James Reimer is ready to play with Adam Munro with the Marlies. The Justin Pogge era has indeed ground to a halt.

Discuss "Killing the Culture of Entitlement Means Pogge Has To Go" (19 comments so far)

Dan Duran vs. the Chainsaw

medicalIn my entry about Nick Kypreos joining the fun on Saturday, I mentioned Dan Duran would be producing the Humble and Fred 20th Anniversary Podcast of Memories. Reading Dan's name prompted Dizz to leave the following comment.

I've been away from Toronto and the entire radio/TV scene... whatever happened to Dan? I recall he was playing second banana to Dini Petty years ago, but had some kind of accident and then disappeared.

I gave Dizz a quick update as I see Dan every Monday night at Beavers, and I closed with this:

Oh yeah, and you'd hardly know he ran a chainsaw over his face. I stare at the dude and can't even tell.

As expected, Dizz wanted more details. Although it was never a secret, I remember reading about it in the paper at the time, there doesn't seem to be a word about Dan Duran and his chainsaw accident anywhere on the web. I googled the crap out of it, and until I left that comment, there wasn't a stitch (pardon the pun).

So, I emailed Dan and told him it's time to add his battle with the chainsaw to the interweb. Here's what he posted.

Hey the chainsaw thing happened when I was still on the Dini show. We talked all about it then on the show and I was back on air 3 weeks later after 63 stitches. I had a great surgeon and it all healed great.

At the moment that I was waiting for the paramedics to arrive I was thinking "boy what a stupid move." "That was really stupid" and also "How stupid could I be" “Stupid Stupid Stupid”.

To the present. The last movie I did was 'SAW VI" and the latest VO thing was HGTV's Top 10 on HGTV Canada and US. The latest thing I did with my son Colton was to help him draw Dialga from Pokémon. “Dad, wouldn’t it be cool if Pokémon were real and we could have them as pets?” “I dunno, do they poop?” “Nope they eat but don’t poop because they evolve”.

See you Saturday.

There ya have it. Dan Duran vs. the Chainsaw.

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Swine Flu Propaganda Video From 1976

VideoEverything old is new again. Here's a 1976 ad for the Swine Flu Shot.

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Your Swine Flu Playlist (Music to Pandemic By)

itunesHave you heard about the swine flu? The WHO raised their alert level to Phase 4 today. Next stop: global emergency!

If we're going to have to grapple with this pandemic, we're going to need a swine flu playlist. Here are swine flu songs to spin while this thing goes hog wild.

  • Generation Swine - Motley Crue
  • Green Eggs and Swine - 3rd Bass
  • Swine - Elvis Costello
  • Piggy Bank - 50 Cent
  • Pig - Weezer
  • Run, Pig, Run - Queens of the Stone Age
  • Papa's Got A Brand New Pig Bag - Pigbag
  • War Pigs - Black Sabbath
  • Piggy - Nine Inch Nails
  • March of the Pigs - Nine Inch Nails
  • Pigmeat and Whiskey Blues - Joshua White
  • Three Little Pigs - Green Jelly
  • Pig - Dave Matthews Band
  • Looking Through The Eye Of A Pig - Cypress Hill
  • Pigs - Cypress Hill
  • If You See My Pigmeat - Blind Boy Fuller
  • Gimme A Pigfoot (And A Bottle Of Beer) - Billie Holiday
  • Piggies - The Beatles
  • Pigs on the Wing 1 - Pink Floyd
  • Pigs on the Wing 2 - Pink Floyd
  • Pigs (Three Different Ones) - Pink Floyd
  • We Are The Pigs - Suede
  • Smoked Pork - Body Count
  • Pork Chop's Little Ditty - Primus
  • Pork Soda - Primus
  • Pork and Beans - Weezer
  • Hot Pork Sandwiches - Tanita Tikaram
  • Pork Roll, Egg, and Cheese - Ween
  • Pork Chop SanDwich - ZZ Top
  • Spider Pig - Homer Simpson
  • Canned Ham - Norman Greenbaum
  • Peter Percival Patterson's Pet Pig Porky - The Monkees
  • Pork chops & Mustard greens - Ernie Andrews
  • Green eggs & Ham - Moxy Fruvous
  • Ham 'n' Eggs - Lonnie Donegan
  • Piggy In The Middle - The Rutles

Discuss "Your Swine Flu Playlist (Music to Pandemic By)" (13 comments so far)

Roy and Four Guys You Don't Know

bluejaysIt's been 15 years since I followed the Jays this closely. I never stopped rooting for my team, and certainly never stopped watching the odd game, but now I'm back to boxscore scoping and game day anticipation. Not only are we leading the league, but we're doing it with Roy and four guys you don't know.

That Roy is Roy Halladay, the second best starting pitcher this franchise has ever seen. You have to love Halladay who battles through and wins, even when he doesn't have his best stuff. He's everything that's right with this game, but he can't pitch every day. Your major league leading Jays have four other starters, and I'll bet you don't know any of 'em.

There's David Purcey, Brian Burres, Scott Richmond, and Brian Tallet. Jays fans might know Richmond because he's Canadian and Tallet from the bullpen, but there's no denying this is a no-name foursome and Cito's making magic with very little.

It's Roy and four guys you don't know. Never doubt The Cito.

The Cito

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The Definitive Humble and Fred Interview

microphoneHumble and Fred are reuniting to record their 20th Anniversary Podcast of Memories on May 2. You're welcome to hang with us at the Dominion at Queen, just get there for 1:30pm.

In anticipation of this first Humble and Fred recording since February 11, 2007 when I joined the guys for the Humble and Fred Podcast of Love at Dan Duran's house, I peppered both Humble Howard Glassman and Fred Patterson with the same 13 questions.

Judging from their candid and interesting answers, May 2 is going to be a blast. Here's how it all went down.

Toronto Mike (TM): How did your first meeting together go? What was your first impression of each other?

Fred Patterson (FP): It was in Montreal in the summer of 1989. Danny Kingsbury was the Program Director of CFNY at the time and he thought Humble and I would work well together so they flew me to Montreal one day to meet him.

Howard picked us up at the airport in a Volkswagen Fox and then took us through a hairy ride through the city. He appeared to be an impatient driver and a bit of a nut but that assessment wasn't totally fair. He turned out to be a pretty patient driver.

Humble Howard (HH): Our first meeting went very well... We drank beer, made each other laugh and had a fine old time... My first impression of Fred was that he was very funny in a very odd way and a great guy. Pretty much my impression for the last 20 years.

TM: How exactly did you two end up with the morning shift on CFNY back in '89?

FP: I had evolved into a sportsguy / co-host with a few morning men at CFNY. Steve Anthony, Randy Taylor and Skot Turner. None of those guys panned out but the powers that be always wanted me to stay on as co-host and then Kingsbury came up with the Humble and Fred idea.

HH: I was doing mornings with Jeff Lumby in Montreal and in fact the PD and GM of CFNY originally wanted to hire Jeff and I to come to Toronto. Jeff didn't want to leave the MTL and after meeting with them, I called later and said I was definitely into it. Fred came to meet me and that's how the Humble and Fred show was created. Lumby later came to Toronto and worked mornings for many years at various stations.

TM: What's your all-time favourite Humble and Fred memory?

FP: Too many to mention. Generally my favourite memories deal with being on-air and coming up with relevant comedy and genuine laughter – something you don't hear a lot of these days, especially genuine laughter.

HH: Hard to say. We had so many great moments, huge laughs, a bit of success and a whole lot of fun. One of my favourite memories was the dude licking the pigs ass and not winning a contest... another was playing guitar with Steven Page while he sang Brian Wilson. Another great show was interviewing Kevin Smith with some no-name actor who was tagging along. Kevin was promoting Chasing Amy and the actor was hanging with Kevin while he was in town shooting Good Will Hunting. The Actor wouldn't shut up and Kevin, Fred and I kept making fun of him. That dude was Ben Affleck. I also loved the fact that we actually became number 1 with men and women 18-34 and never told anybody.

TM: If you could have done anything different with the show during its run what would that have been?

FP: There's really nothing I would do differently, however, if I could go back, I would have appreciated it more. We had a good thing going but while you're doing it you sort of take it for granted.

HH: Play less music.

TM: What was the dumbest thing one of your bosses ever said about the show or your work?

FP: It would have been said through management at the Mix. He asked us why we kept talking about personal things on the air.

The answer was obvious. We were doing the Humble and Fred Show. The show he paid big money for. You think he would have done a little more homework and realized what he was buying. Then again, we should have done a little more homework and realized what we were selling.

HH: One of our bosses told me that maybe we should stop saying the name of the Radio station and just count on people to know who we were.

TM: Name a person you interviewed who was a total jerk, a.k.a. The Billy Bob syndrome.

FP: Howard will agree. Al Waxman. He came in to promote something with little or no idea who we were and without realizing how large our audience was. He was an asshole.

HH: Al Waxman.

TM: CHUM FM had a long run with Roger, Rick and Marilyn. If you could have added a 3rd person, who would it have been?

FP: No question from my standpoint. Sandra Plugakis. She was outstanding as our newscaster back in the late 90s and would have been a great "official 3rd."

HH: Toronto Mike... or a really hot chick like Megan Fox. No scrap that, just Toronto Mike.

TM: Other than EZ Rock, what Toronto radio show would you awaken to today?

FP: John Oakley. I love talk radio and I like his presentation. I also enjoy Bill Carroll. I think there's a huge market for talk radio in Toronto, but with all due respect to the powers that be, none of them are doing it the way I would. It's got to be balanced with more fun and humour.

Very few people spend all day talking about what's wrong with the world, so why would they want to listen to it?

(Mike Stafford has the best balance in town. He can talk about absolutely anything and still make you chuckle – that's the key)

The MOJO format needed more time. They were on to something very good.

I should also say that I'd like to listen to Howard, but I don't have a vagina or any of the problems associated with having one.

HH: Bill Carroll.

TM: Is there something you guys did back then that you could never get away with now?

FP: I'm not sure any of the Really Tough Contest stuff would fly today. A couple had sex in a tent in our studio with a microphone in between them. Another guy beat off several times in the studio bathroom and I'm not sure you could gather a couple of hundred people at a restaurant to watch a guy lick a pig's ass.

HH: Probably not. We did some stuff (Attempted Crucifixion of our Producer) that we shouldn't have done then but we were pretty tame by today's Edge 102 standards.

TM: Is there a song you played which you couldn't stand?

FP: I'll spend the next few days compiling a list of shit we played at the Mix and then get back to you.

HH: Lots. I've always said that I loved a lot of the music, hated some and hadn't heard of lot of it. Which is the same description I could give today at the Mighty EZ!

TM: Why do you think you two worked so well together?

FP: We had basically the same sense of humour and played off each other quite well. It got to the point where you knew exactly what the other guy's reaction was going to be and that led to some great moments.

HH: I think we genuinely liked each other and considering we spent 5-6 hours a day for the better part of 15 years together, we got along remarkably well. Plus we both thought fart jokes were funny.

TM: Where do you see radio in 5 to 10 years? Are podcasts the future of radio?

FP: I can't begin to speculate, although I do wonder if there will be any music on the radio. I can't see it as the delivery system for music in the years the come given the huge leaps in technology.

Younger people are using the radio less and less and as time goes on older demos will become more comfortable with personal listening devices and use them more.

Sooner than later, the "immediate" spoken word is the only unique thing that radio will be able to offer.

HH: In Canada radio will be basically unchanged, although PPM will change the way it's programmed slightly, a lot of the same old will still be on and the real innovations will be taking place elsewhere. As for Podcasts, they already are where really great broadcasters are and maybe that's where H+F will end up on a more regular basis.

TM: Why the fuck aren't Humble and Fred still on the radio?

FP: Humble is, but if you mean together, I can't answer that. The business can be somewhat bewildering. Over the past week I've spent way too much time wondering why Ben Mulroney is on the radio now and I'm not.

Go figure.

HH: No idea... why not ask the PD at Jack FM, who's also the afternoon drive guy and janitor.

Discuss "The Definitive Humble and Fred Interview" (11 comments so far)

k-os - Burning Bridges

slsI'm submitting a song for SLS21 consideration. I'm submitting "Burning Bridges" by k-os.

Did you know Kevin Brereton chose the moniker k-os because it stands for Knowledge Of Self? I'm always unsure whether it's supposed to be typed k-os or K-OS. I see both all over the place.

Discuss "k-os - Burning Bridges" (5 comments so far)

Great WWF Ad (Not That WWF, the Non-Fake WWF)

treeWhen I was a kid, the WWF meant Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, Paul "Mr. Wonderful" Orndorff and Bobby "The Brain" Heenan. At some point the original WWF, the World Wildlife Fund, stopped playing nice with the World Wrestling Federation and reclaimed their acronym.

The WWF has some great ads. Here's one I really dig.


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Don't Tell My Wife About the Swine Flu

WHOFour years ago, we were told the Avian flu pandemic was imminent. My wife was so worried about the avian flu virus making its way to North America that she stored non-perishable food items and litres of water in the basement preparing for lock down. She imagined a moment when the whole family would retreat to the basement quarantined while this mutating virus ravaged the rest of the city.

My wife hasn't read this pleasant Toronto Star article yet. It's about the new flu strain, a mixture of swine, human and avian flu viruses, that has killed up to 68 people in Mexico. The World Health Organization is using the P word.

Hospitals tested patients with flu symptoms for the never-before-seen virus, which has also infected eight people in the United States. No further deaths had come to light since Friday afternoon, but officials warned the person-to-person infections meant there was a risk of a major outbreak.

“It has pandemic potential because it is infecting people,” WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said in Geneva.

In related news, this new strain of swine influenza is likely already in Ontario.

The new strain of swine influenza is likely already in Ontario, said Dr. Michael Gardam, one of Ontario's top infectious disease specialists, because about 60,000 people return to the province from Mexico every month.

"We have to assume that it is circulating in Ontario," he said. "You just have to look at air travel patterns to realize that what goes on in Mexico has to come to Canada.

Just don't tell my wife. If she finds out about this, I'll be tweeting from the basement.

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Bea Arthur, Dead at 86

In MemoriumBea Arthur was 86. She played Dorothy Zbornak on The Golden Girls, the title character in Maude and she ran the cantina on Tatooine in the Star Wars Holiday Special.

In grade 7 I attended a gifted program and my teacher there regarded Bea Arthur as her best friend. She was always bringing in photos of her and Bea and telling us Bea Arthur tales. I felt as if I knew her.

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Blue Jay Bop - CHUM FM Cheerleaders

jaysThere was a time in my life where I caught every Jays game on television or listened to it called by Tom and Jerry on CJCL. I don't catch as many games as I used to, but I watched every inning of our 14-0 thrashing of the Chicago White Sox last night. We're 13-5 and lead the major leagues.

Did you catch that? We're 13-5 and lead the major leagues. That's worthy of another vintage Jays song from back in the day when our Blue Jays lead the major leagues in October.

Here's "Blue Jays Bop" by the CHUM FM Cheerleaders.

Other awesome Blue Jays audio from Toronto Mike:

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Susan Boyle Free Zone

BoyleYou will not find an entry about Susan Boyle on this site. Search as long as you want, but you won't find the YouTube clip of her singing "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Misérables for Britain's Got Talent anywhere on TorontoMike.com.

Is it blasphemy for me to admit I wasn't all that impressed?

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The Guy With His Hand On My Ass Will Be There...

PodcastOn May 2nd, us old time Humble and Fred fans are gathering at the Dominion on Queen to watch the guys record their 20th Anniversary Podcast of Memories. That's only two Saturdays from now. The fun starts at 1:30pm, so be there, or be square.

There will be a few special guests. I'm not talking about the obvious, like super producer Dan Duran, I'm talking mega star power! One confirmed special guest is the dude grabbing my ass in this picture.

Jim Peplinski, Nick Kypreos, Stew Gavin and me

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Premature Awakening

MoonI'm a creature of habit. I awaken at the exact same time every weekday morning. At precisely 7:30, I jump out of bed and into the shower.

This morning, for some inexplicable reason, I forgot I get up every day at 7:30. At 7:05 I leapt out of bed thinking I was actually five minutes behind schedule. After dozens of weeks of knowing I get up at 7:30, I somehow got my wires crossed and was sure I get up at 7.

At least it's Friday.

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GeoCities to Close, A Part of My Web History Evaporates

yahooGeoCities is closing later this year. If you were on the web in the late 90s, you knew GeoCities.

I cut my web page teeth on GeoCities, signing up for a free account over ten years. I remember when my GeoCities page got tied to my Yahoo! member name, shortly after Yahoo! bought GeoCities in 1999.

The cause and effect on GeoCities prompted me to learn HTML. I had a taste of simple web development and I wanted more control. I wanted to hand code, and the rest is history.

I haven't really thought about GeoCities in years, but I'm sorry to see it go. Another part of my personal web history is evaporating.

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@torontomike Wins Stajan Autograph from @TorontoMarlies

MarliesI just won an autographed Matt Stajan card from the Toronto Marlies. I won via Twitter, where I suspect my odds were pretty awesome. @torontomarlies currently has 208 followers and I'm fairly certain only a handful played along with their RT contest yesterday.

I'm glad I won, because it gives me an excuse to respond to something I just read on the Toronto Sports Media Blog.

I know, I am fixated on this right now. The Bellville vs. Brampton game last night outdrew the Marlie game…..The Marlies announced a crowd of over 2200, the OHL game???? 3221!

As anyone who reads this blog knows, I have a blast at Marlies games. I'm going tonight to watch game five from the front row. My son and I know all the players by name, know their strengths, their weaknesses and have remarkable access to them. I'm not blowing smoke up your ass when I tell you we sincerely love watching the Marlies live.

Having said that, I can vouch for the fact that weeknight games are poorly attended. Even playoff games, and that doesn't make sense to me. I've dealt with the Marlies PR folks and they seem to be doing a lot of things right. They reached out to me, they do great things with kids hockey leagues, including my son's Timbits hockey at Swansea, they're now on Twitter and Facebook and they're open to creative marketing solutions.

I think the OHL is outdrawing the Marlies because the Marlies are part of the MLSE empire, and it's hard to paint yourself as a low-cost family alternative when you're printing money with the Leafs, Raptors and TFC. Even though the product is excellent and most of the players have already suited up or will suit up for the Maple Leafs, those looking for a low-cost family alternative sway toward the OHL, the more grass-roots, organic flavour of minor league hockey in the GTA.

There's nothing the Marlies can do about this, but I have one suggestion. Lower ticket prices because you're already gouging us on the NHL level and we know it. My preferred Marlies seats cost $38 each... Decent side seats are $33 on game day. Even the end zone seats are $21 on game day. IMHO, that's too high to be a true low-cost family alternative, especially when we pay $12 to park.

The product is good but the competition is fierce. Aggressive pricing and continued good grass-roots work on the marketing front is the best bet for future Marlies success.

I can't wait for puck droppage tonight @ 7pm at Ricoh. I'll tweet from the game... and hopefully pick up my Matt Stajan autograph.


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Jesus Price, What a Series!

PuckWhen your hockey team doesn't play past the first week of April, you find joy in rooting against your arch rivals. Last year at this time, happiness was a sweep of the Sens in the first round.

This year, I felt great joy in watching the Montreal Canadiens go down in four straight to the Bruins. Tonight's game was a beaut, with Montreal Canadien cast-off Michael Ryder leading the way with a 3 point night and Habs fans mockingly cheering Carey Price after he made an easy stop. Price responded by taunting his own fans, a move that brought a huge smile to this Leaf fan's face.

Jesus Price, what a series! Au revoir les Habitant.


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Surprise! New York Yankee Delivers

YahooI read most of my news in Google Reader. One of the RSS feeds I subscribe to is for Yahoo! News Most Popular. It lets me know which news stories are striking a chord with the masses.

The story below just came through. It's about a western Michigan man who helped deliver his wife's baby boy despite not knowing she was pregnant. No word on whether he played for the New York Yankees.


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We're #2!

volleyballAlthough I hadn't played since primary school gym class, I joined a volleyball team this year. We were called the Pandas and we wrapped up our inaugural season last night.

In a 12-team league, we had a very strong regular season, earning us a first round playoff bye. In our semi-final game, we dominated. Our practice paid off... and we actually did practice.

In the finals, however, we met our match. We faced the team that had our number all season, and they took us out two games straight.

We're #2!

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The Promise - When In Rome

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.

When In Rome - The Promise
You don't hear this great 80s track often these days. It popped in my head this morning, so you're all getting it now.

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Tom Cochrane and the Gretzky Trade

RewindShuffling my tunes, I just heard "Big League" by Tom Cochrane. I loved that song. Hearing it now, it made me think of Wayne Gretzky.

I was heavy into Tom Cochrane's Victory Day back in 1988. When the heart breaking news of the Gretzky Trade came down the wire that summer, the song "Big League" somehow became my theme song of sorts for the Oilers ~ Kings deal. From August 9, 1988 to the present day, "Big League" brought me back to that moment.

As if you need a refresher, the trade saw Oilers owner Peter Pocklington send Gretzky, Marty McSorley and Mike Krushelnyski to the Kings for Jimmy Carson, Martin Gelinas, three first-round draft picks and $15 million. As a 14-year old hockey and Gretzky freak, I saw it as something more significant. I saw it as the selling of The Great One, not to another team, but to another nation.

It's still a great song. Here's "Big League" from 1988.

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Where Do I Go From Here? Or Am I Ruined For All Eternity?

wireYes, this is yet another entry about The Wire. I'm not apologizing. This is my blog and I write about what I dig. I don't remember digging anything as much as I dug The Wire.

It's only been five days since I finished the series finale but already the daily ramifications have been significant. There are three things in particular...

I Miss It

I miss the tremendously interesting characters from The Greatest Show On Television, Ever™. I miss McNulty, Omar, Bodie, Bunk, Freamon and Bubs terribly. I miss them all. I also miss the depth of the writing, the spirit of the show and how The Wire changed the way I think about everything. I feel like I'm in mourning, playing that damn Pogues song all the time and talking about the show to everyone who will listen.

It's Ruined Television

During the past week, I've returned to my regular television viewing habits. Shows I once loved, like Lost, pale when compared to The Wire. Everything seems dumbed down, everything seems sillier, far less compelling and boring now. Now that I've had a taste of The Greatest Show On Television, Ever™, it's painful to watch just about everything else.

Where Do I Go From Here?

I want another Wire. I need something that will grip me like The Wire gripped me, something in the same vein. I've previously enjoyed Oz, Six Feet Under and The Sopranos. Please tell me what I should watch next. What next?

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Great Illustration of the Blog Troll

mouseIn Don't Feed the Trolls, Shoot 'Em! I wrote about Welland Guy. Welland Guy is a blog troll who shows up periodically on this blog, HumbleHoward.com and CanadianThinker.com. I make it a point to ban his IP address from commenting on all three sites as soon as he reveals himself.

Another troll surfaced recently on all three sites, particularly on this Humble Howard entry about the upcoming podcast. Again, the troll posts anonymously, but this time it seems the venom is directed at yours truly.

This cartoon, from Unreal Tournament 2004, perfectly encapsulates the birth of a troll, the greatest blogging hazzard this side of comment spam. It's so spot on, I had to share it.


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You Celebrate 4/20, I'll Celebrate 4/21

potI get that today's 4/20. I actually know that means. Happy 4/20 to all who celebrate the day, but I choose not to partake. I celebrate 4/21.

4/21 references the date April 21, the anniversary of the most legendary goal in the rich history of Canada's team. It was April 21st, 1951, game 5 of the Stanley Cup final between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens. At the 2:53 mark of the first overtime period, Bill Barilko scored the last goal of his life winning the Stanley Cup for the Leafs.

The 24 year old defenseman perished in a light plane crash that summer while on a fishing trip to Northern Ontario. Not until his body was recovered 11 years later in the bush near Cochrane, Ontario, did the Leafs win another championship.

I recently received several documents from the daughter of Ron Boyd who was the helicopter pilot who found the crash site of Bill Barilko. I also conducted an interview with Kevin Shea, author of "Barilko: Without a Trace".

He's our Buddy Holly, and every year, his legend grows. Join me in celebrating 4/21 this year as we tip our hats to #5 Bashin' Bill Barilko.

For more Bill Barilko videos, pictures, stats and info, visit my Bill Barilko tribute page.

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The Value of Hashtags - Hesitant to Embrace?

twitterNow that I've been an active member of the Twittersphere for a half year, there's one thing that still somewhat confuses me. If it's confusing me, it's likely confusing others. I'm referring to the value of hashtags in tweets.

When I tweet from Toronto Marlies games, I try to end each tweet with #marlies. Why do I do that? I do that because of something I read at hashtags.org.

Hashtags are a community-driven convention for adding additional context and metadata to your tweets. They're like tags on Flickr, only added inline to your post. You create a hashtag simply by prefixing a word with a hash symbol: #hashtag.

Obviously I bought into the premise, because I use them. But a search for marlies on hashtag.org reveals zero results. Where are my #marlies entries? What was the point?

@geoperdis, an interesting chap I follow on Twitter, is promoting the CanTags project. He wants us to localize our tweets with six character hashtags, three for the city and three for the subject. I'll let him explain it.

Cantags are easy to use and remember. The first three letters of your city or town? That's the first part of the CanTag (WIN for Winnipeg). Then, you add the topic you're discussing (ARTS for the Arts), (BIZ for Business), (SPO for Sports), etc.

Again, I like the premise, but will it work in practice? Will tagging my Marlies tweets with #torspo place them in the appropriate bucket and will anyone know how to access that bucket? If hashtags.org doesn't work, is there a usable alternative that will make hashtagging worthwhile?

Getting found via Twitter is the same as getting your website found via Google. It's all about content, using the appropriate keywords in your copy. A Twitter Search for the term "marlies" gives me a real-time glance at Marlies buzz and includes my tweets with the aforementioned #marlies hashtag.

Twitter needs a keyword field or tagging system that doesn't devour those precious 140 characters.

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Memoirs of a Snake-Bitten Playoff Pool Drafter

puckI haven't done very well in recent NHL Playoff Pool drafts. Sure, a few years back I finished second, but even a blind squirrel catches a nut now and then.

Last year, I banked on Ducks. The Ducks went out in the first round and I was toast. This year, with those memories fresh in my mind, I banked on the President's Trophy winning San Jose Sharks. I thought the Sharks would likely make it through to the finals, and would easily dispose of those same Ducks in the first round.

After two games, the Ducks lead that series 2-0 and not one of my five Sharks have a single point. I've assumed my usual spot in last place.

Nobody is this bad. I must have really bad luck.

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Silversun Pickups - Panic Switch

slsI'm submitting a song for SLS21 consideration. I'm submitting "Panic Switch" by Silversun Pickups.

"Lazy Eye" was one of my favourite songs of 2007. "Panic Switch" is no "Lazy Eye", but it's that cool Silversun Pickups sound that'll hook you.

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Justin Pogge is a Phriggin' Phoenix

marliesWhen Pogge made his Maple Leaf debut in the 2007 pre-season, I had butterflies. It's been up and down ever since. I recently got to interview him, witnessed a Marlies crowd turn on him, until he finally got pulled, and on March 29 I declared him "not ready for prime time".

Then, when I least expected it, he started to stop the puck. I've been in the building for quite a few Marlies games lately, and those soft goals have evaporated. The shaky Justin Pogge who always made me nervous seems to have stabilized and transformed into a formidable netminder who now invokes confidence. I had the best seat in the house this afternoon and witnessed his excellence as we beat Manitoba 2-1 and took a 2-1 series lead.

The Moose peppered Pogge with 31 shots and J.P. was awesome. He denied Manitoba's Michael Grabner on a pair of breakaways in the second period and was perfect during six Moose powerplays. With the game on the line, you knew Pogge was done allowing soft goals. He's a different guy out there, complete with required swagger.

He's a phriggin' phoenix. Just when I thought he was done, he's come back to life.

Marlies Playoff Action

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SHA Banquet 2009 Trophy Haul

SHAToday is the 2009 Swansea Hockey Association Banquet. The Learn to Play Hockey Timbits took over the Swansea Legion from 11am to 12:15pm, enjoying hot dogs, drinks and trophies.

Those trophies are the highlights. Learn to Play Hockey earns you a participation trophy, and it's all James has been talking about for the past year. The boy loves trophies, even participation trophies.

The trophy case is filling up with participation trophies. Yours truly only earned one non-participation trophy throughout his esteemed SHA hockey career, and that was a Most Improved Player trophy from 1987 or so. That MIP trophy shone brighter than all the participation trophies combined.

Here's my son with his two (yes, two!) participation trophies proudly collected earlier today.

James' Trophy

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Kavanagh's Irish Pub, Pogues Playing, a Wake for The Wire

WireSome of my favourite scenes in The Wire were the wakes the Baltimore Police Department would hold at Kavanagh's Irish Pub to honour a fallen comrade. Last night, I was itching for another episode of The Wire, but ended up watching an episode of Lost from a few weeks ago that I had stored on my PVR. It wasn't the same. It wasn't even close.

In true Wire style, I need a trip to Kavanagh's to celebrate what The Wire gave me so I don't dwell on what I'm missing. Everything ends. The first Kavanagh wake on The Wire took place in "Dead Soldiers", the third episode of the third season. It was for Ray Cole, who was played by series producer Robert Colesberry, who died shortly after the second season. In essence, this wake was for Colesberry. Here's that scene.

That song is "Body of an American" by The Pogues. "Body of an American" would become the definitive Kavanagh wake song in the series. I've been playing it a lot lately.

Here's the Pogues. Fare the well gone away, there's nothing left to say.

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Oprah's First Tweet and Shaq's Quick Response

TwitterOprah has entered the Twittersphere. It's not quite Neil Armstrong taking a step on the moon, but it'll do for a Saturday morning in April. Here's Oprah's first tweet.


Ho hum.... I'm not following Oprah on Twitter, but I do follow Shaq. Check out his quick response to The Mighty O.

@oprah ur caps r on, btw


Shaq 1, Oprah 0

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SES Toronto

CN TowerI have one of those jobs that didn't exist when I was in high school. I'm an eMarketing Manager. You take search marketing expertise, add a dose of HTML / CSS / PHP / Photoshop / Movable Type geekery, throw in mad webmaster skills and polish it all off with that shiny U of T English Major Honours B.A. that proves you can write your way out of any jam.

That first part, the search marketing part, is constantly changing. I use this very site to keep my good eye on Google's algorithm ensuring I don't miss an SEO beat, and I'm always learning more about PPC and the latest social media tools, like Digg, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. That's why I always try to make it to SES Toronto.

This year it's June 8-10 and I'm getting an opportunity to do do a Q&A with the speaker of my choice. I'll blog about the show and share some of the tips, tactics and strategies here.

Related entries:

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The Wire Season Five: A Review

The WireLast night, I wrapped up episode 10 from Season Five of HBO's The Wire. That was the series finale and the 60th episode overall. I started with The Wire pilot back on March 9th which means I managed to burn through over 60 hours in less than six weeks. Addiction will do that to ya.

Season One was all about the Barksdale Organization and we spent those first 12 episodes on the streets of Baltimore and in the pit with Avon's crew. Season Two focused on the Baltimore port and an international smuggling organization known as "The Greeks". In Season Three, we returned to the streets, spending more time with the Barksdale organization and watching the rise of the Stanfield organization. Season Four was all about the kids. Season Five introduced the Baltimore Sun newsroom while remaining focuses on the Baltimore police department vs. the Stanfield organization.

I feel like I'm in mourning. I spent every night in Baltimore, immersed in the world of McNulty, Stringer Bell, Marlo, Chris, Snoop, Michael, Dukie, Naman, Carver, Herc, Bunny, Cheese, Bubbles, Greggs, D'Angelo, Daniels, Omar, Bodie, Carcetti, Freamon and Bunk. Hell, every character was memorable, and that list is just the tip of the iceberg.

Sometimes I think The Wire was about Jimmy McNulty. Other times I think The Wire is about Omar, or Barksdale / Stanfield. Then, I'm certain The Wire was about Bubs. Now that it's over, it's clear what The Wire is about. It's about Baltimore. It's about an American city, the drug trade, the port, the city government and bureaucracy, the school system, and the print news media. As David Simon said, it's "about how we live together. It's about how institutions have an effect on individuals, and how "whether you're a cop, a longshoreman, a drug dealer, a politician, a judge [or] lawyer, you are ultimately compromised and must contend with whatever institution you've committed to."

I once listed my ten favourite television shows of all-time. My top five was The Simpsons, Six Feet Under, The Sopranos, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Oz. The Wire beats 'em all in terms of story, character development, acting and intelligence.

It's baffling to me that this show never won an Emmy. If you invest the time, I guarantee you'll be just as baffled.

Here's one of my favourite scenes, Bunk and McNulty investigating a homicide using only one word. It's NSFW.

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Ghost, Hoax or Pareidolia? Jacko in the Jungle

SpookyThey're wondering at forgetomori if a “Michael Jackson” ghost haunted Muhammad Ali and George Foreman during their Rumble in the Jungle back in the wonderful year of 1974.

Michael Jackson's face shows up in the below video at the 5:45~46 mark. It's Michael Jackson circa 2000, not Michael Jackson circa 1974. See for yourself.

If it's not a hoax, they're wondering if it's pareidolia, which Wikipedia tells me is "a psychological phenomenon involving a vague and random stimulus (often an image or sound) being perceived as significant."

The above forgetomori link has an animated gif of Jacko's appearance, but here's a screen cap if you want to save yourself a click.


Ghost, hoax or pareidolia?

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Blue Jays All The Way - Humble Howard

jays8 and friggin' 3. That's a helluva start. Doc Halladay is 3-0, we're knocking the cover off the ball and Cito is once again ruler of the universe. Life is good.

It's time to share another old school Blue Jays song. This one is by Humble Howard. I asked Humble about it, and he didn't even remember recording it. I had to play it for him in order to get this response.

Yup that's me. I forgot all about it but I did that at the Mix in the spring of 92 just before going back to 102 and never thought about it again.


Things will be fine in 2009. Blue Jays all the way!

Other awesome Blue Jays audio from Toronto Mike:

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A Message For The Poolies

puckOn Monday, 13 of us got together at a top secret west Toronto location to draft players in our 43rd annual NHL playoff pool. It might not be our 43rd annual quite yet, but we've been doing this since I was in high school, and that feels like 43 years ago.

Fellow poolies, this message is for you. In the past, I posted daily updates here. I'm not going to do that anymore, unless I'm in first. Now, I'm just going to update https://www.torontomike.com/2009hockeypool.html every morning.

I've added a link to that page to the main navigation menu on the left. Remember, you can leave comments at the bottom of that page. Trash talk isn't just allowed, it's encouraged!

p.s. I'm not in last!

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The Good and Bad of Having Oprah on Twitter

twitterOprah Winfrey now controls http://twitter.com/oprah and tomorrow, during her show, she'll make her first tweet.

The Pro

Hundreds of thousands of Oprah worshippers will learn about Twitter. The soccer mom contingent will be gobbling up Twitter accounts and following their fearless leader in droves at about this time tomorrow.

The Con

Hundreds of thousands of Oprah worshippers will learn about Twitter. The soccer mom contingent will be gobbling up Twitter accounts and following their fearless leader in droves at about this time tomorrow.

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Saved By The Bleep

tvZack Morris was too cool for school. When he worked that brick cell phone, you knew he was King of Bayside.

Here's Zack and the rest of the Saved By The Bell crew uncensored... and then censored once more.

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Going Big or Going Home: A Guide to Drafting John Tavares

leafsWe just enjoyed night one of the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Marlies won their playoff game and the Jays won another one, so naturally I'm writing about the Leafers first thing this Thursday morning.

Guys and gals my age have the same laundry list of great Leaf memories. We remember sweeping the Blackhawks in the first round in '86, we remember Gilmour's wrap-around goal in game one of the Norris division final against Cujo and the Blues, we remember losing game seven of the conference finals against the Kings, making it back the conference finals in '94, a couple of similar runs with Quinn at the helm and many, many playoff victories against the Sens. That's it. None of us remember a Stanley Cup appearance or any moment in the history of this club when the best player in the league wore the blue and white. Sure, Gilmour was great the in the early 90s, but in my lifetime, we've never drafted a potential superstar. Never.

I'm sick of it. I want a bonafide blue chip prospect. I'm sure Luke Schenn will be a fantastic player, but I want the next one. I want John Tavares, and so does Brian Burke.

The New York Islanders have the first pick in this year's NHL Draft. Burke's already on the phone with Garth Snow seeing what it will take to pry that pick out of his hands. I say we should do whatever it takes. I can't imagine what we have that the Islanders would want, other than our next ten first round picks, but the Islanders are a franchise known for questionable decisions of this nature, and Burke seems serious about acquiring the Oakville native.

Snow can have whatever he wants. I want to go big or go home. I want John Tavares because our current "never draft a potential superstar" model ain't working.

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Updating Facebook Status From Twitter Tweets

FBWhen I got into Twitter, I all but abandoned my Facebook account. In fact, my Facebook status message read "Follow me on Twitter @ www.twitter.com/torontomike."

A member of my slo-pitch team asked me earlier today about updating her Facebook status messages via Twitter. I always knew how to do this, but I had never implemented it myself, so today I decided to marry the two social networking tools.

It's quite simple if you want to do this yourself. Here are the two steps.

  1. Install this Twitter App in Facebook
  2. Click the "Want Twitter to update your Facebook status?" link

That's it. Now, when I tweet via Twitter, it automatically updates my Facebook status message with the same content.

If you've got a Facebook account but prefer broadcasting with Twitter, bang this off in 2 minutes and thank me later.

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Little Green Bag - The George Baker Selection

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.

Little Green Bag - The George Baker Selection
On Tuesday nights, after my volleyball games, I go straight home to join the family viewing of American Idol. I can never explain why I enjoy that show. It's the only reality show I watch, and it's cheesy karaoke. It's nothing I'd ever actually go out of my way to hear, but we don't miss an episode.

Part of the allure is that the kids love it. They know the competitors, have their favourites, enjoy the tunes and enjoy the judges commentary. I can't blame it all on the kids, however, because my wife and I watched this show together before the kids ever caught a glimpse of Simon. I think I enjoy the kitschy quality of American Idol. I think it's a wonderful guilty pleasure, a silly escape from the heavier television fare I typically enjoy.

Quentin Tarantino seems drawn to AI for similar reasons. He too never misses an episode, and last night he was on the show coaching the competitors as they sang songs from movies.

I love Tarantino films. I absolutely love them. All of 'em. I love Tarantino movie soundtracks just as much. My favourite song from a Tarantino film might just be "Little Green Bag" by The George Baker Selection.

Reservoir Dogs

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Questions for Humble and Fred? Drop 'em Here!

microphoneI'm going to interview Humble and Fred before their 20th Anniversary Podcast of Memories on May 2. They've promised to be as honest and open as possible, so this will be fun.

I've got some questions lined up, but I'd love to hear what you'd like asked. If you have a question for Humble and/or Fred that you'd like me to ask during my interview with the boys, please drop 'em in the comments.

You might want to check out what I've asked them in the past. Here are those interviews.

The Gang

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WHAM Live at the CNE in 1985

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.

Molson Music presents WHAM! Explosive! Make It Big for '85. August 28th at CNE Stadium. With special guests, the Pointer Sisters. Brought to you by 680-CFTR. Get tickets at all BASS outlets, or call 416-872-BASS.

Who remembers BASS outlets?

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Travis Snider: Rookie of the Year

Blue JaysBlue Jays rookie Travis Snider hit two home runs last night, including a go-ahead two-run shot in the eighth inning, as we rallied to beat the Minnesota Twins 8-6. Although it's awfully early, I've seen enough of Travis Snider to know he's got the stuff. I'm talking about the good stuff, the stuff that makes you a great major league hitter. Snider will be the American League Rookie of the Year.

Our Jays, by the way, are 6-2, good for first place in the tough AL East. Never underestimate the power of Cito. Never.


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My 2009 Picks

hockeyBelow are the ten players I chose in tonight's playoff pool draft. It looks like I'll be rooting for San Jose, New Jersey and Chicago.

Out of 13 poolies, I got to pick 13th. Yes, I'm that lucky. If you're a trivia buff you'll be interested to know I picked Brian Gionta 6th in last year's pool as well. Crazy, but true.

A San Jose - New Jersey Stanley Cup final would likely give me my first victory in the history of this annual tradition. It could happen, right?

  1. P. Marleau - SJ
  2. Z. Parise - NJ
  3. M. Michalek - SJ
  4. J. Pavelski - SJ
  5. R. Blake - SJ
  6. B. Gionta - NJ
  7. B. Shanahan - NJ
  8. C. Ehrhoff - SJ
  9. A. Ladd - CHI
  10. D. Bolland - CHI

Follow along at https://www.torontomike.com/2009hockeypool.html.

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Metric - Gimme Sympathy

slsI'm submitting a song for SLS21 consideration. I'm submitting "Gimme Sympathy" by Metric.

I like Emily Haines. She went to Etobicoke School of the Arts, a breeding ground of sorts for cool Canadian music. If you took some time to chart it, you could link Metric, Broken Social Scene and Stars back to ESA.

"Gimme Sympathy" is their latest single. It would be the sixth Metric tune to appear on SLS.

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Harry Kalas, Dead at 73

In MemoriumHarry Kalas was 73. He was the longtime Philadelphia Phillies broadcaster famous for his patented "It's outta here" home run call.

Here he is calling the final out of last year's World Series.

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Marilyn Chambers, Dead at 56

In MemoriumMarilyn Chambers was 56. She was the adult film star who starred in the 1972 film "Behind the Green Door."

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The Wire Season Four: A Review

The WireLast night, I wrapped up episode 13 from Season Four of HBO's The Wire. That was the season finale and the 50th episode overall.

Season One was all about the Barksdale Organization and we spent those first 12 episodes on the streets of Baltimore and in the pit with Avon's crew. Season Two focused on the Baltimore port and an international smuggling organization known as "The Greeks". In Season Three, we returned to the streets, spending more time with the Barksdale organization and watching the rise of the Stanfield organization. Season Four was all about the kids.

That's not exactly true. The Wire is never all about anything that specific. That's the beauty of this series, we focus on the kids and the schools but we don't lose sight of the Barksdale Organization, the Stanfield Organization, the Baltimore police department or the politicians. Every season has had a different focus while remaining true to the overall fabric - everything is connected and there's always a ripple effect.

The first three seasons were frighteningly good but season four is probably the best of the bunch. We became emotionally invested in the lives of Dukie, Namond, Randy and Michael. Meanwhile, our favourites are still there. For me, that's Omar, Cutty, Bodie, Bubbles, Freamon, Bunk and Jimmy McNulty,

What other show would have the courage to take their premiere flawed good guy character, Jimmy McNulty, clean him up and take him off-screen for the bulk of a season? It would be like taking Hawkeye on M*A*S*H, moving him to the 4078th and keeping the focus on the 4077th. It would be like moving Sam Malone upstairs to Melville's Seafood and keeping the show with Cliff and Norm at Cheers.

But it worked. It all works. It's a far better show than I expected and I was expecting greatness. I'm just sad I only have one season to go.

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Grave Digger + Hannah Montana = Happy Easter

EasterAs the kids get older, the Easter Bunny has to raise his game to a whole new level. Back in the day, chocolate eggs were hidden in plain sight. This morning, the kids had their work cut out for themselves. In fact, I'm sure a few eggs won't be found until August.

The highlight of the hunt was the two big treats. Michelle scored a massive Hannah Montana thing while James countered with Grave Digger.

Grave Digger + Hannah Montana = Happy Easter.

Easter 2009 Easter 2009

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Maple Leafs 5, Senators 2

LeafsThe Battle of Ontario has come to this. In a nothing game between two nothing teams, Martin Gerber exacted some revenge as we won our last game of the season.

Boyd Devereaux finished strong, recording a hat trick. In the final standings, Ottawa beat us by two points. If you're disappointed, imagine how they feel over there. They actually had some hope this year.

We haven't played an NHL playoff game in this city in five years. Leafs playoff games are an urban legend as far as my daughter is concerned. I don't know about you, but I'm getting awfully sick of this futility. Burke better have something up his sleeve and 2009/2010 has to be a better year.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
81 points
5th in Northeast Division
5-2 Win vs. Ottawa
3-1 Loss vs. Buffalo
4-1 Win vs. New Jersey
J. Blake - 63
Ponikarovsky - 61
M. Stajan - 55

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@MayorMiller Tweets TFC, Risks Pounding By Supporters

twitterThe Marlies and Toronto FC play next door to each other on the Exhibition grounds. Today, the Toronto FC game started at 4pm and the Marlies started at 5pm. I like to tweet via Twitter during Marlies games, and apparently Toronto Mayor David Miller likes to tweet during TFC games, because that's how I got my TFC updates while watching the Marlies tangle with the Hamilton Bulldogs.

Elvis, a good friend and frequent commenter here, is an avid TFC fan with season's tickets. He took me to my first game last summer, and he'll take me to my second this summer. He has one rule, however, a rule apparently shared by TFC supporters. If you tweet the game, you risk a beating.

I told Elvis @mayormiller was tweeting the game and if @mayormiller can tweet during a TFC game, so could @torontomike. Apparently, @mayormiller can't tweet during TFC games and him doing so has alienated him from true TFC supporters. I won't repeat what Elvis called him, but it's worse than the label Freddie P once put on our fearless leader.

By the way, TFC tied their match 1-1 and the Marlies tied their game 1-1 with a Bates Battaglia goal with 11.1 seconds remaining in the 3rd period. @mayormiller tweeted one game, @torontomike tweeted the other. Only one of us risked getting his ass kicked as a result.


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My Old Cinder Block Bookcase

HomeI live in Toronto. Not the GTA, but Toronto proper. My area code is 416. I love my little 3-bedroom house and I love my neighbourhood.

I work with lots of people who live outside the city, in Mississauga, Brampton, Milton, Oakville, Georgetown or Burlington. When it comes to square footage, I can't compete. These folks are tossing out crazy figures, like 3000 square feet and the like, and my awesome Toronto home simply doesn't measure up. I suppose it's a choice every parent has to make: suburban home with lots of space or awesome Toronto neighbourhood home with little space. We happily chose the latter.

Without the space, we have to be extra creative when it comes to furniture, storage and general organization. Less is more, and this past week we decided our living room / dining room (it's really the same room in my home) bookshelf from Ikea had to go. If you want a brown Ikea BILLY bookcase system, let me know.

Moving the BILLY bookcase out of the house reminded me of our first bookcase. My wife and I moved into our first apartment in 1996, a bachelor apartment at Yonge and Charles Street. We didn't have a pot to piss in, so I built our first bookcase using cinder blocks and slabs of wood I managed to collect in my travels.

I always loved my cinder block bookcase, and my wife allowed it to remain our primary bookcase until we bought our first home five years later. That's when we bought the $99 BILLY bookcase from Ikea.

Here's a blurry picture of my old cinder block bookcase. I miss it.


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Sam's Auto Repair in the SHA (1986)

puckYears ago, I wrote about the worst team I ever played for. I was a forward with the CN Towers in the Swansea Hockey Association. We played at Rennie Park and went 0-15 one season.

I was just going through some old photos when I found a shot of Sam's Auto Repair, another team I played for at Swansea. With Sam's Auto Repair, I got my first taste of playoff hockey. I remember we lost a very close semi-final game against Mr. Grocer.

Here's Sam's Auto Repair, probably in 1986.

Sam's Auto Repair

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Marlies Clinch Playoff Spot (Don't Bang on the Glass!)

MarliesA Toronto-based professional team is making the playoffs this year! I just got back from Ricoh and an amazing Marlies game. Against all odds, we have clinched a playoff spot.

Pogge was great between the pipes, we fought back from a 3-1 deficit against the best team in the division and we had to deal with questionable refereeing, a horrendous defensive lapse and Syracuse playing the worst team in the division.

I was only a few feet from the goal line when Tim Stapleton scored the winner in overtime. I was lucky security cut me some slack. They have a "don't bang on the glass" policy at Ricoh, which I ignore as the game becomes more intense. I literally get lost in the action, and I really wanted this one. When we scored the tying goal, I stood up and banged that glass as hard as I could.

Security came over and gave me a warning. The kids beside me would bang the glass later that period and they got punted. I think having an innocent 7-year old son in a Leafs jersey beside me worked in my favour.

It was a thrilling comeback and when Rochester beat Syracuse 2-0, we were 3 points ahead with only one game left in the regular season. Syracuse can't make up 3 points in one game, no matter how many Faith Nights they had this season. The Marlies have clinched a playoff spot.

Kids, don't bang on the glass. That's one to grow on.

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The Separation of Church and Skate

USAI've already explained the importance of these final two Marlies games. Our games are against the top two teams in the division while Syracuse is playing a home-and-home against the worst team in the division. I was just on the Syracuse Crunch site reading up on them when I found a promo for Faith Night.

Here's the promo, now out of date but still in rotation on the site as of this morning. Christopher Ames, for the unaware, is a Christian rock singer.


This is the problem with America. There's no separation of church and skate.

I'm hanging with the local heathens this Good Friday night, right here in the T.Dot. By the way, Mike Keane is still playing for the Moose. It seems he too has made a deal with the devil.


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Bring Kiss To Peterborough

musicYou have homework. My buddy Fred wants to bring Kiss to Peterborough. In his words:

Kiss is holding an on-line contest that will determine 40 dates on their upcoming tour and the way its set up, absolutely any town, village or hamlet in North America could host a concert.

It's being done on a per-capita basis. In other words, one vote out of Peterborough could be worth a thousand out of Toronto.

Voting for Peterborough requires going to this site and voting for the city, but I think I've found an easier way. I think they're tabulating scores based on visits to the unique landing page set up for each town, village or hamlet. I think you can actually cast a vote for Peterborough by simply clicking this link.

Pay a quick visit to http://eventful.com/demand/kiss-/D0-001-003042945-0/join and help a bugger out. Even though I once labelled this band the most overrated ever.

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Dave Arneson, Dead at 61

In MemoriumDave Arneson was 61. He was one of the co-creators of the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy game and a pioneer of role-playing entertainment.

I once wrote about Dungeons & Dragons, the game of choice for those in the primary school gifted program.

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Setting Up The New Laptop

mouseI managed to leverage an issue with my work issued laptop into a new one. It's a LATITUDE E6500 from Dell, and since it's been a while since I've set up a Windows machine, I'm documenting what I do here so I can reference the details next time.

Firstly, it came to me with Windows XP and Microsoft's Office Suite installed. It also had the company install of McAfee and Power DVD DX. The rest was up to me.

I have licenses for three commercial apps I use regularly. These are Adobe Photoshop, Dreamweaver and Acrobat. I started by installing these programs.

I use portable versions of Firefox and Filezilla, my preferred browser and ftp client, so I simply copied these off of a flash drive and didn't miss a beat. I can't tell you how sweet this is. All my bookmarks, add-ons, preferences, passwords and cookies in tact. Damn.

All my music, pictures and source files reside on an external hard drive, so it was plug and play on that front. That just left me with a few free applications to install, like 7-Zip, µTorrent, iTunes, QuickTime, Audiograbber and Google Chrome.

That's it. More and more of what I do has moved into the browser. As apps move to the web, there's less and less to install.

What an age we live in.

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Marlies Final Two Games Mean Something

marliesThe Marlies lost in overtime last night. That gave us a point, but because the Syracuse Crunch only got a point, we hold a one point lead over them for the final playoff spot and we both have only two games to play.

We don't hold the tie breaker, so we've got to finish strong. Our last two games are tomorrow night and Saturday afternoon and both are here in Toronto. I'm attending both games, against Manitoba and Hamilton, respectively.

I'm pretty psyched, as Pogge has played well down the stretch and these games actually mean something. We control our own destiny, so we just have to win, baby.

Let me know if you're heading down to Richoh tomorrow or Saturday.

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Maple Leafs 1, Sabres 3

LeafsI don't know about other Leafs fans, but I can't muster up an ounce of care around Brad May's 1000th game in the NHL. It might be nice for Sabres fans, but other than a great Rick Jeanneret "May Day" call, Brad May is just a guy who played 1000 games. That, apparently, is enough to get you a silver stick from Red Kelly.

Cujo made a little history himself last night, losing game #352, tying Gump Worsley for most losses in NHL history. And yes, it was another loss. If we count overtime and shootout losses, and we should, this was our 48th loss of the season. We've been topped 48 out of 81 times out, that's 59.25%. That sucks.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
77 points
5th in Northeast Division
4-1 Win vs. New Jersey
6-2 Loss vs. Montreal
8-5 Loss vs. Philadelphia
J. Blake - 61
Ponikarovsky - 59
M. Stajan - 53

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Billy Bob Thornton's Cringe-Worth Blow Up on CBC's Q

radioQ is a nice little radio show that airs on CBC Radio One. It's hosted by Jian Ghomeshi and airs live Monday to Friday at 10:00 a.m.

Q was visited this morning by country-pop band The Boxmasters. The Boxmasters's biggest claim to fame is that their singer is Oscar-winner Billy Bob Thornton. When Billy Bob takes offence to being referred to as an actor, it makes for some cringe-worthy audio you can hear below.

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Humble and Fred IDs: Prepping For Memory Lane

radioI was chatting with Humble yesterday about the upcoming Humble and Fred 20th Anniversary Podcast of Memories. If you haven't heard, it's taking place May 2nd at Dominion on Queen and everyone's invited. Show up for 1:30pm and listen to the guys stroll down memory lane. I was asking Humble if he wanted to spill some more deets, and he gave me a great quote. "We'll show up, drink some beer, make a few fart jokes and then go home with everyone feeling vaguely disapointed."

To promote this afternoon of podcastian excellence, here are a few of the hundreds and hundreds of promos, IDs and bumpers I've accumulated from the old Humble and Fred morning show. Enjoy, and if you actually dig these, let me know in the comments and I'll share more before the May 2nd throwdown.


Opera Lady

Not Pathetic

It's The Humble and Fred Show

It's the Humble and Fred Show II

The Tide is High

Humble and Fred Must Die

Beverly Hillbillies

This is Humble and Fred

The Humble Report


Greasy Jungle

Brain Stew

The Humble and Fred Radio Network

Constant Sorrow

Green Acres

H+F Song

Arms Wide Open

One Hand In My Pocket

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Maple Leafs 4, Devils 1

LeafsSon of Hanson scored his first NHL goal as we surprised the Devils in New Jersey.

That's nice and all, but it was a damn rough season, difficult to watch and difficult to write about. Even the Senators have passed us in the standings.

In more interesting hockey news (to me, anyway), the Marlies have a huge game tonight before they finish up their regular season Friday night and Saturday afternoon. I'll be at those two games as we try to hold on to our playoff spot. Hey Burkey, shouldn't we send Luke Schenn down to the Marlies?

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
77 points
5th in Northeast Division
4-1 Win vs. New Jersey
6-2 Loss vs. Montreal
8-5 Loss vs. Philadelphia
J. Blake - 61
Ponikarovsky - 59
M. Stajan - 53

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My Ten Favourite Firefox Add-Ons

firefoxI recently wrote about Adblock, the most necessary of all the Firefox Add-ons I use. In the comments, someone asked me which other Firefox Add-ons I use for work and/or play.

Here are my ten favourite Firefox Add-ons.

Adblock Plus - You know those ads you see all over the place when surfing the web? I don't. I haven't seen them in years and I don't miss 'em at all.

Web Developer - An absolute must for any author of web pages, this add-on lets me easily resize the browser, view the CSS, edit the CSS and HTML in Firefox and a billion other web author tasks. Irreplaceable.

Greasemonkey - What can I say about this one? There are many great scripts that customize the way a webpage displays.

TwitterFox - For reading and writing Twitter tweets.

IE Tab - Need to test a page in IE? This add-on lets you do that in a Firefox tab. It's also useful for those sites that just don't work in Firefox.

MeasureIt - Draw out a ruler to get the pixel width and height of any elements on a webpage.

ColorZilla - If I need to quickly know the hexidecimal code for any colour on any web page I visit, this tool tells all. It's awesome.

Forecastfox - Let's me know the current Toronto weather, the high for the day and tomorrow's expected weather.

Screengrab! - This is an old favourite that didn't work in Firefox 2 but was recently updated. It's nice to have it back as it lets me easily save or copy screen caps.

Tabbrowser Preferences - This gives you more control over Firefox's tab behaviour. For example, I have it automatically open _blank targeted links in a new tab.

Honourable mentions go to Extended Copy Menu, Google Gears, Firebug, FoxyTunes, LinkChecker and Better Gmail 2.

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My Hannah Montana Experience

HumourMe: Are you ready for the Hannah Montana movie?
Her: Yes! I'm wearing my Hannah Montana underwear!

I had an awesome evening yesterday. Only a stone's throw from where the Jays were putting up big numbers on opening night, my daughter and I were having a Hannah Montana experience. Disney Canada doesn't want me to review this film until Friday, but I'm allowed to write about the experience, and an experience is the perfect descriptor for what I enjoyed for three hours at the Scotiabank Theatre.

I was anticipating traffic, with the home opener and that snowy rain, but it was probably only 15 minutes from my driveway to Queen and John Streets. As a result, we assumed our media-only seats shortly after 6pm for a 7pm flick. Michelle was buzzing. She loves the Hannah Montana television show and has been talking about this movie for weeks. She gave me the run down on the characters during our drive downtown, as I have never seen an episode. I heard enough to know it was safe for the kids, but I didn't know about Miley's brother and granny and best friend.

During the hour before the film, it was surreal. The target demo seemed to be girls aged 4 - 10, and I don't think I saw a single boy. They played a video for "Hoedown Throwdown", a song from the movie we were about to watch, and a "How to do the Hoedown Throwdown" tutorial, featuring Miley Cyrus herself. They aired these two clips on a continuous loop, and Michelle got up and danced along every time.

I don't think I've ever ventured as far from my comfort zone. She was literally glowing as she "countrified it" and "hip-hopped it". Here's that video I saw about ten times last night.

Michelle had a plan. She was going to squeeze my hand during the funny parts. This lasted about 30 minutes until she asked to sit in my lap. Then, I half watched a surprisingly entertaining movie and half watched Michelle's intense focus on the screen. She laughed, she cried, she cheered, and, when the actors danced during the closing credits, she got up and danced once more.

On the drive home, we chatted about the movie. She told me about the father-daughter scene that put tears in her eyes, and how her eyes still teared up when she thought about it. She loved the Taylor Swift cameo, the songs and the overall story. Well past her bedtime when we got home, she was still buzzing.

I've got almost 7.5 years of parenting under my belt, and I try my best, but I'll inevitably screw up at one point or another. Only 4.75 of those years have been parenting a little girl, but when I mess up, I'm going to reference this awesome night it all went right.

Fathers of girls aged 4-10, you might want to plan a daddy-daughter day around this one. Movies like this don't need a review, as reviews don't matter. It's all about the experience.


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The NBA Hall of Fame Slam Dunk

b-ballMichael Jordan is in the basketball Hall of Fame. He was elected to the class of 2009 today along with David Robinson, John Stockton, Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan and Rutgers women's coach C. Vivian Stringer.

Michael Jordan was the best basketball player I ever saw play the game. It's not even close. I've never seen a player elevate his game to such an elite level come crunch time, so consistently. In the days before we had an NBA franchise the Bulls were the team to watch. A Bulls game on television was must-see TV, and it was all because of Michael.

He finished a 15-year career with the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards with 32,292 points, the third-highest total in league history, behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone. His final career average of 30.12 goes down as the best, just ahead of Wilt Chamberlain's 30.07. He also won six championships with the Bulls and another in college with North Carolina. He also won MVP honours five times. He was like no other player I had seen before and I haven't seen anything close since.

He was an NBA Hall of Fame slam dunk.

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Hannah Montana Earns Me Father of the Year Honours

familyMy buddies are heading a little east on the Gardiner Expressway to catch the Jays home opener at the dome. I too will be heading a little east on the Gardiner Expressway, but I'm heading downtown for a different reason. I'm off to secure 2009 Father of the Year honours.

As a member of the new media, I get to see Hannah Montana: The Movie a whole four nights before it opens. I'm taking my daughter, a huge Hannah Montana fan. It's all she's been talking about for weeks.

I can't actually get through an episode of Hannah Montana, so I'm not sure how I'll fare tonight, but if Michelle has a good time I'll be happy. I'll also be Father of the Year.

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Blue Jays Songs: The Music of Summers Past

JaysThe Toronto Blue Jays home opener is tomorrow. I won't be at the game, because I'll be busy earning my Father of the Year award, but more on that later.

I've written a ton about how much this team meant to me from 1983 through 1993. I clung to every inning during the Drive of '85 while worshipping George Bell, Dave Stieb, Tony Fernandez and the like. Every year at this time, I get that tingly sensation. It's the thrill of the grass, and it all begins now.

In honour of another new Blue Jays season, here's a whole bunch of old school Blue Jays songs I've shared over the past seven years of blogging. Throughout the season, I'll share more. If you remember Kelly Gruber's fog grandslam, George Bell's opening day trifecta of homers or those 9th inning two out singles Dave Stieb gave up, you'll love this.

OK Blue Jays (Let's Play Ball!) - Keith Hampshire w/ The Bat Boys

Originally shared at OK Blue Jays (Let's Play Ball!).

The Ballad of Tom Henke - Section 15 Orchestra

Originally shared at The Ballad of Tom Henke.

Help Us Mookie - The Kokomo Beach Band

Originally shared at Help Us Mookie.

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

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

The Blue Jays Rap - The Variety Club Rap Gang

Originally shared at The Blue Jays Rap.

Sunny Jays - Fred Patterson & the 102 Crew

Originally shared at Freddie P's Goohead Jays Song.

Jays to the Top - Humble Howard

Originally shared at Jays to the Top.

Doin' It Right (On the Jays Side Of Town) - Jake Edwards & the Q-Jays

Originally shared at Doin' It Right (On the Jays Side Of Town).

Come On, Let's Go (All The Way Blue Jays) - The CJCL All-Stars

Originally shared at Come On, Let's Go (All The Way Blue Jays).

Do It Again, Blue Jays! - Tom Cheek & Jerry Howarth

Originally shared at Do It Again, Blue Jays!.

Shaker's Rap - Lloyd Moseby

Originally shared at Shaker's Rap - It's Lloyd Moseby Time.

If you enjoyed these Blue Jays songs, you'll love listening to my favourite Tom Cheek calls.

Ok Blue Jays, let's play ball!

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Maple Leafs 2, Canadiens 6

LeafsThat's 14 goals surrendered in two games, if you're counting at home. Sometimes I wish we could take a pass on playing out the string. The goaltending is horrible, the effort is non-existent and even games like this we die-hards can get up for are gift wrapped for the opposition.

For those of you who don't follow the Marlies as closely as I do, Pogge was awesome last night in beating the Manitoba Moose as we continue to hold onto a slim one-point edge over the Crunch for the fourth and final playoff spot. We've got three games left and they are all here in Toronto, so get your ass to Ricoh. This is gonna be a fun finish.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
75 points
4th in Northeast Division
6-2 Loss vs. Montreal
8-5 Loss vs. Philadelphia
3-2 Win vs. Philadelphia
J. Blake - 61
Ponikarovsky - 59
M. Stajan - 53

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Nothing New Under the Sun

starwars"The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun." We learnt this quote from the Book of Ecclesiastes back in high school when we were studying William Shakespeare and his influences. The idea is that everything is adapted and inspired by something else.

I stumbled upon this review of the six Star Wars movies earlier today and liked it very much. Fellow fans of these films, especially the original trilogy I worshipped throughout the 80s, will enjoy this 10-minute tour of the many Star Wars influences that inspired George Lucas.

Related entries:

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The Love Guru

A Movie ReelThe Love Guru: 3 out of 10.

I've finally seen my beloved hockey team win the Stanley Cup. Unfortunately, it was embedded in this steaming pile of elephant dung that I watched last night.

I'm thoroughly disappointed. Mike Myers gets to make amends for our game seven loss to Gretzky and the Kings back in '93 and this is the best he can come up with. It's dick joke after dick joke and it's embarrassing.

Here are a few scattered thoughts on The Love Guru, a movie I desperately wanted to like.

  • Our Stanley Cup drought is blamed on the curse of Hank Bullard, who bought the team after the 1967 season. I wonder who Hank Bullard is supposed to represent? Hmmmmm....
  • Ben Kingsley is way above his humiliating role in this movie. I cringed every time I saw him.
  • It was nice to hear the hockey song opening Hockey Night in Canada again.
  • I'm guessing Andy Frost wanted too much coin to reprise his role as ACC in-house announcer, because they went with someone else.
  • The best part of this movie is Stephen Colbert.
  • You'd think a hockey nut like Mike Myers would see that this movie was true to the rules. First we see the ref issue a game suspension on the ice, later upgrading it to a two game suspension, and later we see him blowing the whistle to stop the game because a coach called a timeout. It's not basketball!
  • And what was with Rob Blake taking a faceoff for the Kings?
  • Like Slumdog Millionaire, this movie ends with a Bollywood-style dance scene - other than that, there are absolutely no similarities.
  • Even Celine Dion had the good sense to stay out of this trainwreck.

At least the Leafs won the cup.

Love Guru

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Maple Leafs 5, Flyers 8

LeafsWe were down 6-0 in this sucker before we started our thrilling comeback. Wait, is it still a comeback if we lose by three?

Christian Hanson, son of Dave "Slap Shot" Hanson, made his NHL debut. He appears to be just like his old man, only without the killer instinct.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
75 points
4th in Northeast Division
8-5 Loss vs. Philadelphia
3-2 Win vs. Philadelphia
7-5 Loss vs. Boston
J. Blake - 60
Ponikarovsky - 59
M. Stajan - 53

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Comment Pot Pourri

Comments Here are recent comments left on this site you may have missed. All of these comments were left within the past few weeks.

Being more versed in coffee, i find it astonishing how far backwards Canada is about it, but Canada seems to be in the midst of a war against quality, or perhaps it's just against individuality-- at Starbucks everyone can have a coffee tailored specifically to them, at tim hortins everyone drinks the same thing. Even 3rd world Asia has some better coffee shops. In Canada mostly all you see is Tim Hortons or Coffee time and they are no different than 7/11 or any gas station in the states, they don't even make any specialty coffee except what comes from a coffee vending machine where there is no skill on the part of the barista and where it's loaded with sugar. In the states they have these same exact machines but where you stick 75 cents in them and it drops a cup and pours the coffee. These are not real lattes/cappucinos etc, if anything they might be considered terrible mocha's. Real cappucinos and lattes do not have sugar added by default. Tim Hortins is a total abomination, but i guess they just rely on anti-americanism and herd behavior to stay in business. Great!! enjoy your mass produced gas station vending machine coffee together sheep, ill enjoy a nice grande latte for roughly the same price-- a latte that doesn't come from a machine, or taste like chocolate syrup. I guess that makes me some sort of arrogant self-centered snob because i prefer quality coffee specially tailored to my taste. So be it.

~ K, I Just Want A Coffee

Hi all,

It's me again. Thanks for your continued support and kind words which mean so much to me. I want to let you know that I'll be back on the radio beginning this weekend as the co-host of The 80s Show (alongside the terrific KCC). In one of life's strange twists, this show airs on 97.3 EZRock in Toronto and on a bunch of other Astral Media owned EZRock stations across Canada. In Toronto, check out it out on Sunday mornings from 10am-12pm. I'll be on the EZRock morning show tomorrow morning to chat about this (strange, I know!). I'm excited about this show and delighted to be back on the airwaves. It's a good start as I continue to look for the right opportunity to get back to it full-time.

I'd love it if you'd give a listen and let me know what you think. You can find me on Facebook...let's keep in touch.

~ Stu Jeffries, Humble Howard Returns To Morning Radio on EZ Rock 97.3

Prima is now out of business!!!!! Their shop in Richmond is gone!! I own a Prima myself and glad the people they ripped off comes back to them. What comes around goes around!!!

~ Roy, My Prima Television Nightmare

Toronto's crime rates are falling, and given the fact that I walk in different parts of the city and feel comfortable.

He conveniently forgets that Toronto's record for homicides was set quite awhile ago (1991, about 20 years ago!). Does he remember how shitty pretty much all of Queen West was? Now it's diversified in income, and Parkdale isn't just for the mentally ill anymore. The area I grew up in today no longer sees the kind of illegal dumping it did 20 years ago, and the retail strip which was a bunch of abandoned storefronts 20 years ago is now vibrant with pedestrians commercial activity.

The smelly factories are gone as well. There are more festivals, and more tourists. We're restoring old buildings rather than knocking them down. The progress is tangible. Certain areas in the city have declined, while others have been revived. This is natural and happens in every city.

I often compare my taxes with friends and family living around Toronto and with my real estate in the US, and the rate is surprisingly comparable, except that I get more services and get to live in a more cosmopolitan place. Argie's some provincial WASP lamenting the good 'ol days. Like some reactionary, with tones of fascism in his homophobia, ambiguously insinuating that the tolerant, liberal society is someone negative.

~ Andrew Kowalski, 175 Reasons to Love Toronto

hi ed boon this is jake, i like this game so much.so i have a question, can i play this game online. if no, how much does the game cost? if no than can you give me directions on how to do it. bye

~ jake, Ed Boon's Mortal Kombat Armageddon Demo

Blinky (first version)was yellow and a dodge plymmouth was taken out to pasture and donated to the toront shrine club, and was replaced by the new white ford.

~ Paul Causton, Documenting Blinky's History

Yeah, I agree. All the new ads for the 2010 cars are coming out, and they all say "two thousand ten".

Damn, "two thousand" has lost its edge, it doesn't sound futuristic anymore. "Twenty" sounds modern and appropriate for 2010.

*sigh* those damn car companies, probably just want to make absolute sure that none of their customers were confused about "twenty-ten".

~ Patrick, Two-Thousand-and-Ten or Twenty-Ten?

Walt was like my brother. My best friend from age 3 right through school. He was a loyal friend through thick and thin. That goal "rollin rollin rollin" - that was just like his life. He kept rollin. We started watching the Stooges in kindergarden and never looked back. Mike Martin (I remember you well - you were the other guy in public school we wouldn't fight)- you nailed it. He liked to beat us at everything. He was the best at all sports. He won most of the time at board games. He even won at ramdom stuff like cards and dice games. He was a winner. His first game of organized junior peewee hockey he held the puck on a string and scored 6 easy goals. That was his last game of "junior" peewee as well. He was the first to "roof" one playing baseball at Algonquin school and to dunk on those 8 foot hoops. He loved a good time and knew what one was and a great friend to many. RIP buddy

~ Karl Szugalew, Walt Poddubny, Dead at 49

I also am looking for a jewelery image out of a 1981 or 1982 catalogue. My parents gave me a ring for my 16th birtday with a beautiful poem about my birth attached to it. The ring disappeared some years ago and I would like to find a picture of it. My mother is very ill with dimentia and I would like to bring this memory back to her if possible while I still can. Any information would be greatly appreciated as to where I could get this image.

~ Kristie, Consumers Distributing

people of Toronto revolt - the water of the Don River will flow red with blood until 1050 CHUM rises like a phoenix once again!

~ Kev, 1050 CHUM Now CP24 Radio 1050

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March 2009 Organic Keywords

Search Strings According to Google Analytics, here are the top ten keywords that brought people to this site in March 2009.

  1. walt poddubny
  2. man up canada
  3. edgefest 2009
  4. toronto mike
  5. big shiny tunes 2
  6. wedding songs 2008
  7. edgefest 2009 lineup
  8. mike boon
  9. hockey songs
  10. cool wedding songs

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Google and Twitter?

GoogleThe buzz this morning is that Google is in talks to buy Twitter. Of course, it depends who you ask.

Google Inc. may be in talks to buy Internet start-up Twitter, the free micro-blogging service that allows people to send short text messages to a network of friends, the TechCrunch website said late Thursday

TechCrunch's article by Michael Arrington said the two companies are also considering working together on a Google real time search engine.

Firstly, I'll take this opportunity to pimp my buddy's Firefox Greasemonkey script that puts real-time Twitter search results in Google. I owe him for almost killing him in 1999, but that's another story for another time.

As for Google and Twitter, it makes sense to me. In fact, I think Twitter fans, like myself, would rather a company like Google takes over than the alternative. The bigger question is, how do you convert the popularity of Twitter into cash?

Does Google insert Adwords ads into twitter.com pages? What about all of us who never see twitter.com pages? Do they insert ads into tweets? They wouldn't dare do that, would they?

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Adblock Plus: The Most Necessary Firefox Add-On

firefoxMy web browser of choice is Firefox. I actually use a portable version of Firefox that can be cloned and run off a USB flash drive. I've tried other browsers, like Chrome, Opera and even IE8, but after five minutes of browsing I find myself missing Firefox terribly.

Yes, there are several Firefox add-ons I use for work and play that I miss when I try Chrome or Opera, but there's one in particular I miss immensely. I can't surf the web without Adblock Plus.

Adblock Plus blocks ads on the Internet. I've been using it for years, and I'm always shocked when I see my favourite sites in other people's browsers. I just don't see banner ads or flash ads or even sponsored ads in Google. I don't even see the ads on meebo.com, my IM of choice, or all those ads you see in Yahoo! News.

If you use Firefox, you're likely already using Adblock Plus. If you're not using Firefox and Adblock Plus, don't you think it's time you gave it a shot?


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Joe Gets No Respect

JaysI just read an interesting article about Joe Carter.

The former Toronto slugger said baseball fans and historians rank his Game 6, bottom-of-the-ninth, three-run homer off Philadelphia closer Mitch Williams below moments such as Kirk Gibson's pinch-hit homer off Dennis Eckersley in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.

Highlights of big home runs by Bill Mazeroski and Bobby Thomson often get shown far more than Carter's shot, too.

"Mine, it will make the top 10 but it's never No. 1, it's never been No. 2, it's always been in the middle of the pack," Carter said Thursday. "Had it been for the Yankees or the Dodgers, then I think it would have been No. 1. But because it was in Toronto, it has not gotten the respect that I think it really should deserve."

Just last June I wrote about Joe's homer ranking 7th on the Best Damn Sports Show Period's most memorable baseball plays.

This play is better than 7th. It oughta be #1.

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The Wire Season Three: A Review

The WireLast night, I wrapped up episode 12 from Season Three of HBO's The Wire. That was the season finale and the 37th episode overall.

Season One was all about the Barksdale Organization and we spent those first 12 episodes on the streets of Baltimore and in the pit with Avon's crew. Season Two focused on the Baltimore port and an international smuggling organization known as "The Greeks". In Season Three, we returned to the streets, spending more time with the Barksdale organization and watching the rise of the Stanfield organization. We also delved into the local Baltimore political scene and watched the birth of Hamsterdam.

I'd like to say more about Hamsterdam, but I'm trying not to spoil anything for anyone who wants to take this 60 episode journey. Hamsterdam is the brainchild of Major Howard "Bunny" Colvin, under extreme pressure to reduce homicides in the Western District. It's essentially a zone of tolerance, where drug dealers can sell their wares without interference from the police. The existence of Hamsterdam eliminates drug dealing on residential street corners, reduces the body count and enables needle exchange and safe sex social programs to work directly with their target audience, all in one convenient space.

I'm not going to glorify Hamsterdam, and neither does The Wire. The beauty of The Wire is that there aren't good guys and bad guys, nothing is black and white. The good guys have vices and many of the bad guys have honourable attributes. In fact, one of my favourite characters and a character I root heavily for, is a brash, openly homosexual thief and murderer. Omar Little is a character you don't find in other shows. Nothing sends chills down the spine like Omar whistling "Farmer in the Del".

The Wire is many shades of grey. From Hamsterdam to Omar Little, there is no good or bad. I hope I see more of Omar in season four.


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Maple Leafs 3, Flyers 2

LeafsThe Leafs, Raptors and Jays all won yesterday. That's pretty impressive for three teams that will finish well out of the playoffs in 2009. I realize the Jays season hasn't actually started, but their chances are slim to none and slim just hopped the Greyhound to Saskatoon.

Excuse me for not celebrating this hard fought victory. My sights are set on Saturday night when Montreal comes to town. That game is for the championship of the world galaxy.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
75 points
4th in Northeast Division
3-2 Win vs. Philadelphia
7-5 Loss vs. Boston
5-3 Loss vs. Buffalo
J. Blake - 60
Ponikarovsky - 58
M. Stajan - 52

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Together Everyone Achieves More

LeafsI've got this poster on my office wall. It says "Together Everyone Achieves More". It's TEAM, get it?

It features a Leafs team from much earlier this decade. Svehla, Reichel, McCauley, Fitzgerald, Mogilny and Kaberle are seen congratulating themselves. Because together, everyone achieves more.

The Leafs have missed the playoffs for the fourth season in a row. I'm beginning to suspect this poster is one big lie.


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72 Years of Guiding Light and I Missed It

tvAt first I thought it was a typo. The headline in my RSS reader claimed "TV's Guiding Light switching off after 72 years." Television has only been commercially available since the late 1930s. A series couldn't possibly have been running for 72 years.

It turns out Guiding Light began as a 15-minute serial on NBC Radio in January 1937 and debuted on CBS television in 1952. Guiding Light aired in one form or another for 72 years and I never caught a single minute.

Did I miss anything?

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Was Nickelback Always Bad? I Say No...

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.

Nickelback - Old Enough
Today, Nickelback is exhibit A in arguments as to why popular rock music today sucks. I'm as guilty as anyone. Earlier this week, I dropped the term "Nickelback" as a negative, explaining why I didn't watch a minute of the Juno Awards.

It wasn't always this way. I distinctly remember an 18-month period after Nickelback released The State when they were pretty okay. They might not have been the coolest band on the planet, but The State was a solid album and their two Edgefest appearances afterwards were enjoyable.

It's acceptable to trash the mega-selling Nickelback machine today, but go back and listen to "Breathe", "Leader of Men", "Worthy to Say" and "Old Enough" and tell me it was so terrible. In fact, here's "Old Enough" right here. Not bad, eh?

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The Definitive April Fool's Day Song

calendarToday is the perfect day to share my favourite song from the first band I saw live in concert, Chalk Circle.

April Fool

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