July 2010 Archives

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Rumplestiltz - LETZ GO BLUEJAYZ

bluejaysSomeone named Rumplestiltz has put together a hip hop song about old school Toronto Blue Jays. Anyone who reads this blog, especially my collection of old school Blue Jays Songs, knows I'm a sucker for Stieb, Upshaw, Fernandez, Bell and other Jays of yesteryear.

I'm not sure about some of these rhymes, but I love hearing the old names and the footage is pretty awesome. Letz Go BlueJayz!

If you're itching for the original OK Blue Jays, you want to go here.

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A True Crackberry

phoneI left my Blackberry in its case on our team's bench the other night during softball. An opposing player hit a foul ball that landed right on my poor Curve.

The result is a true crackberry. The Blackberry is still fully functional, but you'll see the glass screen has been totalled.

crackberry 002

crackberry 007

I understand the warranty, which has long expired, doesn't cover such things. Before I drop by a Rogers store to hear what they have to say, does anyone know if they have to replace this phone or can I just get a new screen?

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I'm Loving This Car

carAll week I've been driving a 2011 Fiesta 5-door hatchback SE. Ford doesn't care what I write about these cars they lend me, so I assure you it's without bias when I tell you I'm loving this car.

It's just so much fun to drive. No, there's not a lot of power, but I honestly don't care. It's compact, but still roomy and comfy. My family of four fits perfectly fine, and scooting around in this gas saver is a treat.

I only have a couple more days with it, so tomorrow we're road tripping just to get more time in the Fiesta. There aren't a lot of bells and whistles, but the Sirius satellite radio is quickly becoming an extra I don't know how I live without. I'm loving this car.

Birthday BBQ

My Mazda Protege has about 230,000 kms on it, and I know it won't live forever. When she passes on, and I'm in the market for a replacement, I'm going to seriously consider this Fiesta. I don't want to give it back.

used cars

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10 Birthday Songs for Your Birthday Playlist

XXXIt's my mom's birthday today, and I'm off to a BBQ to join in the celebration.

I decided to filter out all songs in my MP3 collection with "birthday" in the title. Out of 36447 songs I was very surprised to find only ten "birthday" songs.

Here are the ten birthday songs in case you're ever making a birthday playlist.

  1. Birthday - The Beatles
  2. Happy Birthday, Lisa - Michael Jackson and Bart Simpson
  3. 7th Birthday - The Lowest of the Low
  4. Happy Birthday Mr. Burns - The Ramones
  5. Tears At The Birthday Party - Elvis Costello
  6. It's Johnny's Birthday - George Harrison
  7. Sunday (The Day Before My Birthday) - Moby
  8. Birthday - The Sugarcubes
  9. Happy Birthday Mr. Smithers - Mr. Burns
  10. Happy Birthday - Weird Al Yankovic

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Bosh More Vince Than We Realized

RaptorsI'm just coming up for air and catching up with some of the news from this past week. One item on Chris Bosh is really bugging me.

When Bosh signed with Miami, I defended his legacy in a Raptors uniform.

He was our best Raptor for 7 years, and unlike Vince Carter, he never quit on us.

Appearing on the FAN 590, Bryan Colangelo said Bosh wasn't the same player toward the end of the year. In essence, he quit on us.

Colangelo said on Monday's show that whether Bosh was "mentally checked out or, you know, just wasn't quite into it down the stretch, he wasn't the same guy. And I think everybody saw that, just no one wanted to acknowledge it."

I hate quitters.

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Ramona and Beezus Review

Movie ReviewRamona and Beezus: 6 out of 10.

I'm not sure how to review this one...

Yesterday, my daughter turned six. For her birthday, she invited 11 friends to see Ramona and Beezus, and I was lucky enough to score an invite. All 11 friends, and her 8-year old brother, loved this movie. I found it nice enough and pretty charming, but damn is it tame. In other words, it's perfect for kids under 12 and pretty friggin' boring for 30-something year old guys.


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The Baby Turns 6

FamilySix years ago today, the baby of the family was born. She's certainly no baby today. She's far more mature and organized than me already, full of interesting insight and impressive observations.

They really do grow up too quickly. Here's my Michelle at about six months of age.


And here she is this summer.

Camping at Pinery

Happy 6th Birthday, Michie Mee! Now stop growing up so damn fast. Love, Daddy

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Lorenzen Wright, Dead at 34

In MemoriumLorenzen Wright was 34. He played 13 seasons in the NBA for the Cavaliers, Clippers, Hawks, Grizzlies, and Kings.

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Allman Brothers Band - Jessica

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.

play Allman Brothers Band - Jessica
All week I've had this song bouncing around my head. I just have to hear the name Jessica and I hear it.

It's a great track.

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Maury Chaykin, Dead at 61

In MemoriumMaury Chaykin was 61. He was the prolific and award-winning actor who appeared in such films as Whale Music and Dances with Wolves.

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Scooting Around in a 2011 Ford Fiesta 5-Door Hatchback SE

carI picked up a brand new 2011 Fiesta 5-door hatchback SE from Ford today for an 8-day test drive. I recently drove their new Taurus for a couple of weeks, but the Taurus is both out of my price range and too big for my tiny driveway. The Fiesta is a car I'd actually consider purchasing.

There's a little bit of a shock going from the mighty Taurus to the fuel-efficient Fiesta. All the Fiesta marketing materials scream aloud about their "class-leading" 4.9L/100 km highway and 6.8L/100 km city fuel consumption rating. It doesn't have the raw power and pep of the Taurus, but it's fun to drive. A lot of fun.

fiesta 005

I'm just glad I didn't take the Fiesta camping. I don't think it would have held my cooler, tent, sleeping bags and other gear. I mean, it was bigger than the Smart Fortwo I test drove last summer, but take a look at the trunk with just a little of my baseball gear inside.

fiesta 007

But when you go with a small, fuel-efficient car, you sacrifice space. The car I'm driving has a sticker price of $16799 with $2730 of extras. It's going to be a fun week.

fiesta 001

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Kool-Aid Man: 35 Years of Running Through Walls

rewindI just found out the Kool-Aid Man is 35 years old this year. From Wikipedia:

In 1975 Kraft Foods created the character’s first costume with arms and legs. He also became more of an action figure in commercials — performing extreme sports and busting through brick walls. Kool-Aid Man is famously known for shouting, “Oh, Yeah!” as he is summoned by thirsty children with the phrase, "Hey, Kool-Aid!". Commercials of the era also featured a catchy jingle, always ending with the Kool-Aid Man's phrase.

Here's a typical Kool-Aid Man ad from when I was a kid.

And, here's the now legendary Kool-Aid Man appearance on Family Guy.

Happy Birthday, Kool-Aid Man!


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When Did You Get Your Ears Pierced?

familyI have a question for the ladies out there, and those who have daughters. When did you get yours or your daughter's ears pierced?

I know lots of people who get their daughter's ears pierced when they're mere months old. My daughter turns six next week, and she decided she wanted her ears pierced. This afternoon, that's exactly what we did.


When do girls typically get their ears pierced?

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Of Robert Irsay and Art Modell

moviesTSN is airing the exceptional ESPN 30 FOR 30 film project. If the idea of some of Hollywood's finest filmmakers creating documentaries centered on the last 30 years in sports sounds interesting to you, you'd absolutely love this series. I PVR the series and steal a documentary viewing every chance I get.

I just watched Barry Levinson's The Band That Wouldn't Die. In the early hours of the morning of March 29, 1984, Robert Irsay had fifteen Mayflower trucks hurriedly pack the Baltimore Colt's property and transport it to Indianapolis. Robert Irsay broke the hearts of the Colts faithful, and 12 years later, Art Modell would do the same to Cleveland Browns fans.

Modell, owner of the Cleveland Browns, secretly negotiated with the State of Maryland to move the franchise to Baltimore for the 1996 season. I always found it rather unsettling that Baltimore, so devastated by seeing their team leave for Indianapolis on a snowy winter night, would see NHL football return to their city by stealing Cleveland's beloved team. That had to be bitter sweet.

Here's the Baltimore Colts fight song that made grown men and women cry in Levinson's The Band That Wouldn't Die. I highly recommend you start watching ESPN's 30 For 30 if you aren't already.

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Yes, Guy! Bring Back Jim Tatti!

tvI hear Sportsline is coming back. CHCH will bring back Sportsline with Mark Hebscher weeknights at 7pm starting this fall.

In the late 80s and early 90s, Sportsline was must-watch television for me. Here's something I wrote about the program in 2008.

I got an email this morning from Mark Hebscher. Hebsy, along with Jim Tatti, hosted Sportsline on Global TV every weeknight at 11:30 from 1985 untill Hebscher left in 1995. I was a Sportsline fanatic.

In the late 80s and early 90s, Sportsline was like no other sports highlight show on television. First and foremost, it was funny. They didn't take sports too seriously and they had fun presenting the highlights. The Hebsy Awards were always a treat.

My brothers and I used to watch Sportsline together and that's where we caught up on what was happening in the NHL, MLB, NFL, NBA or whatever. There was no World Wide Web to tap into, there was no Sportsnet or The Score, and TSN's Sportsdesk just wasn't as much fun as Hebsy and Tatti. When Hebscher left in 1995, I too said goodbye. Last year, Global axed the entire sports department, including Jim Tatti.

If you're in your 30s and you grew up in the GTA loving sports, you were likely as big a fan of this show as I was. I miss it.

I've just got one thing to say to the folks at CHCH resurrecting Sportsline. Bring back Jim Tatti!

Jim Tatti is currently working in real estate, but I'm sure he could handle both gigs. He's keeping his head in the game, recently starting to blog at Tatti Talk.

Jim Tatti on sportsline? Yes, guy!

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How to Make Easy Bookshelves With Planks, Concrete Block & Glass

constructionI was checking the referral logs when I saw traffic coming from this eHow article entitled "How to Make Easy Bookshelves With Planks, Concrete Block & Glass".

Bookshelves are an important part of a home's organization. Bookshelves hold books, nick-knacks and even electronics like radios or small televisions. Most bookcases are quite expensive, especially if they are sturdy and well-made. You can create a sturdy and stylish bookshelf using cinder blocks, and glass for very little money. You will need to know how to assemble these materials to create a useful bookshelf.

There are instructions on how to create your own cinder block bookcase, and a link to the reference to the article. That reference? An entry I wrote about the cinder block bookcase I built while at university.


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Jump! The Ongoing History of Songs Named Jump

musicThe Pinery Provincial Park is about 3.5 hours from Toronto. I just made the round trip in a new Taurus lent to me by Ford. This Taurus has a great audio system, enabling me to sync my iPod or listen to Sirius satellite radio. I did both.

One of the stations I'll check out on Sirius is The '90s on 9. It's just wall-to-wall tunes from the 1990s, the decade for me in which music was everything. I love me a good 90s song.

Today, while listening to The '90s on 9, I heard a track from 1992 I didn't know. It was the only song I heard on this station that I didn't know. It was called "Jump!" and it was by The Movement. naturally, I started thinking about all the "Jump" songs I know well, and then researched all the "Jump" songs I don't know. This is the ongoing history of songs named Jump.

As with many things in life, this list starts with Loverboy. In 1981, Calgary's own Loverboy began the "Jump" song saga when they released Get Lucky, an album best known for its opening track, "Working for the Weekend". Get Lucky also featured "Jump".

We'll jump from Loverboy to The Pointer Sisters, who unleashed their poppy "Jump" in 1983. The "Jump" song (r)evolution is well underway.

That was 1983, and Van Halen was listening. In early 1984, they released the definitive "Jump" song. If you can hear this song and not think you're at a hockey game, you're a better man than I.

It's hard to top Van Halen's "Jump", but Kris Kross sure as hell tried. Say what you will about their 1992 hit "Jump", but you've got to admit it's catchy. I'm just hoping this whole 'wear your clothes backward' thing makes a comeback.

Since we're in 1992, let's address the "Jump!" I heard this morning that sparked this entry. It's by The Movement and I don't remember it at all.

Fast forward to 2001, and the "Jump" song epidemic hits Japan. Japanese band, Every Little Thing, hit #7 on the Japanese charts with their "Jump".

It's N*E*R*D's turn! N*E*R*D released their "Jump" in 2004.

Later in 2004, Simple Plan, a band I love to hate, jumped on the "Jump" bandwagon with their own "Jump". Save yourself 3:11 and skip this one.

One year after Simple Plan impressed nobody with their "Jump", a Brit-pop all-female band had a minor UK hit with their own "Jump". This band is called The Faders, and no, I've never heard of them either.

In 2006, supreme copycat artist Madonna found out about all these "Jump" songs and had to have a slice of the pie. Here's Madonna's "Jump".

And, as proof the "Jump" song craze has hit maximum overdrive, Flo-Rida and Nelly Furtado released "Jump" in 2009, a song subsequently used to promote a movie about hamsters.

Now you know the rest of the "Jump" story.

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Just What I Needed

campingSo... what did I miss? I unplugged for a few days, went camping with the kids. It was just what I needed.

The Ford Fiesta I planned to drive to The Pinery was suddenly unavailable, but the good folks at Ford let me keep the Taurus SHO an extra week. It's a big car, which was perfect for a load of camping gear and campers. I'm not sure the little Fiesta would have been able to hold us all.

We're "park once" campers. That means we park once at our site, and we don't drive the car again until it's time to go home. Anything we want to do during our visit must be reachable by foot. I've camped with this rule all my life and it's part of the fun.

A typical day includes:

  • the kids waking up way too early because some bird made a racket at 6am
  • me ordering them out of the tent to figure out life while I try to sleep until 9am
  • a trip to the facilities for toiletry duties - I'm happy if the teeth get brushed
  • a leisurely breakfast - Rice Krispies will do, I get 3 days of cold milk out of one cooler load
  • a little catch - football or baseball, we alternate
  • a hike on one of the many trails - often the walk to the trail is far longer than the trail itself
  • sand dunes, anyone? the best hikes at The Pinery are the unofficial trails over the sand dunes
  • lunch time - ham sandwiches, grapes and Doritos did the trick yesterday
  • more catch - long ball catch with your kid is the absolutely best thing in the world
  • beach time - The Pinery has the best beaches
  • more sand dunes because the kids can't get enough of them
  • hike time!
  • spark up the bbq, it's time for hot dogs, even though daddy forgot the ketchup
  • cards, reading, colouring
  • campfire time - marshmallow roasts rule
  • a little crank radio fun in the tent and....
  • zzzzzzzzzzz

I could get used to that. Here are a couple of videos of the kids at the aforementioned sand dunes. You can see the beach in the background.

And here are a few pics culled from the photoset.

Camping at Pinery Camping at Pinery Camping at Pinery Camping at Pinery

It really was just what I needed.

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Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Surfin' Bird (But Were Afraid to Ask)

musicDo you watch Family Guy? I do. In 2008 the Family Guy episode "I Dream of Jesus" gave "Surfin' Bird" new life. In fact, if you've ever watched "I Dream of Jesus", you've likely burst into "Surfin' Bird" at one point or another.

Here's Peter singing "Surfin' Bird" in that episode of Family Guy.

Now that we're on the same page, it's time to learn about this Frankenstein monster of a hit that was reborn a couple of years ago.

Surfin' Bird was a hit for The Trashmen back in 1963. Here's their version that reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100.

I referred to "Surfin' Bird" as a Frankenstein monster of a hit, because it's actually a combination of two R&B hits by The Rivingtons: "Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow" and "The Bird's the Word".

Here's The Rivington's "Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow", a minor hit in 1962.

And here's their "The Bird's the Word", even less of a hit in 1963.

The most famous cover of "Surfin' Bird" belongs to The Ramones who featured it on their 1977 album Rocket to Russia.

Not to be outdone by The Ramones, The Cramps also covered "Surfin' Bird" on their debut EP, Gravest Hits. I actually prefer this version from The Cramps to The Ramones' version.

"Surfin' Bird" was also covered by Pee-Wee Herman in 1987's Back to the Beach, a movie I remember loving in theatres 23 summers ago.

And not to be outdone by Pee-Wee, German thrash metal band Sodom covered "Surfin' Bird" in 2001.

But prior to Family Guy, what was the best use of "Surfin' Bird" in pop culture? That's easy, it was the way Stanley Kubrick juxtaposed the realities of Vietnam with the supreme silliness of The Trashmen's song in Full Metal Jacket. We'll close with that great scene.

Now that's everything you ever wanted to know about "Surfin' Bird" (but were afraid to ask).

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Zombieland Review

Movie ReviewZombieland: 7 out of 10.

I had no idea what to expect when I sat down to watch Zombieland. It starred Woody Harrelson for goodness sake, and I guy I'd never heard of named Jesse Eisenberg.

It was actually quirky fun and the Bill Murray cameo is pretty awesome. And Michael Cera better watch his back, Jesse Eisenberg wants his roles. But the best part of Zombieland? The fact it's only 88 minutes.

No movie should ever exceed 90 minutes in length.


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My Thoughts On What Everyone is Talking About

notepadThey call these the dog days of summer. It's hot, life is busy and less people are in front of their computers looking at blogs.

I write about what I find interesting. You'll be hard pressed to find an entry on this site I don't care about. Go ahead and search this site for information on Lindsay Lohan or Paris Hilton... you'll come up pretty empty, because I don't care about them.

A couple of big stories have come and gone these past two weeks, and I've intentionally ignored both. LeBron James' hour long ESPN special regarding his decision was one, and Mel Gibson's recorded phone call is the other. Considering LeBron didn't re-sign with Cleveland, I think his production was a bit over-the-top and overly insulting to Cavs fans, but he's an unrestricted free agent and he can sign wherever he likes. Clearly he'd rather join a stacked deck in Miami than build a championship around him elsewhere, but that's his prerogative. Now I have another team to root against.

Mel is a homophobic, anti-semitic, sexist, racist, angry man and I choose not to chat him up at Tim's. That's my prerogative. But that's the story. He's not a great guy and he's got issues. And Howard Stern will have a field day with his recorded phone calls for all of eternity.

Speaking of Stern, damn I'm enjoying the Sirius radio on the car I've borrowed. I've always enjoyed Stern's show, but being away from it for a year just reminded me how damn entertaining he is. I don't care what you think of Stern, I love his radio show.

And I'm glad Hedo's gone. Ball.

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From Taurus to Fiesta - Final Thoughts on the Sedan

CarI've been driving a 2011 Ford Taurus SHO all week, but tomorrow it goes back to Ford. But instead of leaving Ford in my old '99 Mazda, I'll be leaving Ford with a brand spankin' new Ford Fiesta that literally arrived there today. I'll be taking that sucker camping, but before I swap the Taurus for the Fiesta, here are some final thoughts on the Taurus SHO.

SHO stands for Super High Output, and that's a pretty good term for it. The 3.5-liter turbo V-6 is mighty powerful and a pleasure to drive. I found myself going way out of my way on highways just to drive it, it was that much fun.

And the insides are ridiculously roomy. My Mazda's trunk can barely hold the baseball bag with bases and bats I slug around, but this Taurus trunk looks like it could fit four such bags. And this thing is comfy - from the Sync to the Sirius and keyless ignition, it's luxurious without being pretentious.

When Ford lends you these cars, you get a print out of what it would cost to own. Because this Taurus is fully loaded, the sticker price ended up close to 50k. Yes, that's a little out of my price range, but that's not why the Taurus isn't for me. It's a big sedan, and I'm a smaller car kind of guy.

pics 038

We'll see what I think of the Fiesta tomorrow.

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Ferris Club: Ferris Bueller's Fight Club

Ferris Club Someone by the name of Cool Papa Bell left a comment on MetaTalk regarding Ferris Bueller's Day Off that I quite liked.

My favorite thought-piece about Ferris Bueller is the "Fight Club" theory, in which Ferris Bueller, the person, is just a figment of Cameron's imagination, like Tyler Durden, and Sloane is the girl Cameron secretly loves.

One day while he's lying sick in bed, Cameron lets "Ferris" steal his father's car and take the day off, and as Cameron wanders around the city, all of his interactions with Ferris and Sloane, and all the impossible hijinks, are all just played out in his head. This is part of the reason why the "three" characters can see so much of Chicago in less than one day -- Cameron is alone, just imagining it all.

It isn't until he destroys the front of the car in a fugue state does he finally get a grip and decide to confront his father, after which he imagines a final, impossible escape for Ferris and a storybook happy ending for Sloane ("He's gonna marry me!"), the girl that Cameron knows he can never have.

ClassyHands liked that comment enough to make a Ferris Club trailer.


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The Ten Homer in One Game Record Remains Ours

bluejaysThe other day, I started thinking about September 14, 1987. I watched the Jays take on the Orioles that afternoon, and we hit 10 home runs.

10 home runs in a game by a single team remains the major league record, 23 years later. I'm hoping this record is never broken.

You're probably wondering which Blue Jays went deep that afternoon to give Jim Clancy an easy win. Here's the list:

  • Ernie Whitt (3)
  • George Bell (2)
  • Rance Mullineks (2)
  • Lloyd Moseby
  • Rob Ducey
  • Fred McGriff

I once wrote in great detail about September 14, 1987. You might want to read that entry here.

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The Statler Brothers - Flowers On The Wall

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.

play The Statler Brothers - Flowers On The Wall
If you're anything like me, you know this song from Pulp Fiction. I have to confess, the only Statler Brothers song I've ever heard is this one and I only know it from the Pulp Fiction movie and soundtrack.

But get this... I totally dig this track. Because it was in my favourite movie of all-time and appeared on one of my favourite movie soundtracks of all-time.

Did anyone out there know this song before Pulp Fiction was released?

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KesselySnipes' Dion Phaneuf Video

leafsI haven't written about the Leafs in a while. The countdown clock tells me there's still 85 days, 9 hours, 35 minutes, and 35 seconds left until the Maple Leafs opener.

This awesome video is from KesselySnipes. You should watch it.

[via Pension Plan Puppets]

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Despicable Me Review

Movie ReviewDespicable Me: 8 out of 10.

I took my 8-year old to Despicable Me this past weekend. He had already seen Toy Story 3, and it's always tough to find a movie we'll both love.

We both loved Despicable Me. It's just a solid, funny, charming little movie that's pretty perfect for those times you need a family flick. I'm sure they'll find a way to spin off the Minion's into a television series or sequel.


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George Steinbrenner, Dead at 80

In MemoriumGeorge Steinbrenner was 80. He had owned the Yankees since 1973, winning seven World Series championships over that time.

Larry David voiced a great Steinbrenner on Seinfeld.

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The Invention of Lying Review

Movie ReviewThe Invention of Lying: 3 out of 10.

I find Ricky Gervais to be a very funny guy. I laughed at his HBO special, I loved him in The Office and I even enjoy "The Ricky Gervais Show". Ricky Gervais is funny.

Ricky Gervais wrote and directed The Invention of Lying, and he brought along a bunch of my favourite people. For my money, nobody is funnier than Louis C.K.. He's in The Invention of Lying. Tina Fey is pretty damn funny. She's in this thing, too. Does John Hodgman make you laugh? He makes me laugh, and he's in The Invention of Lying. Even the Bluths, Jeffrey Tambor and Jason Bateman, appear in this movie.

That's a pretty funny collective, and you'd think it would be nearly impossible to make these folks unfunny. But that's exactly what The Invention of Lying is: unfunny.

It's a semi-interesting 5-minute discussion stretched over 99 minutes, completely void of humour. I didn't laugh once, and when I'm not laughing at Louis C.K., something has gone horribly wrong.


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Push-Button Keyless Ignition? Now I've Seen Everything!

carI mentioned Ford has lent me a 2010 Ford Taurus SHO for the week. When you're coming from a '99 Protege with manual windows and locks, it's always a shock getting used to the modern conveniences a car like this has to offer.

One feature that's hard to get used to is the push-button keyless ignition. Absolutely no key required, in fact, there's no keyhole at all. To start this car, I press a button and press down on the brakes.


Starting a car without keys without having to hotwire. Now I've seen everything!

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Ganja Songs or Music With Ganja in the Title

ganja songAll morning, I've been spinning tracks from Reggae Anthology: The Channel One Story. One track I dig, by this cat named Little John, is aptly titled "Smoke Ganja Hard".

I wondered to myself, how many tunes are in my collection with the word "ganja" in the song title? It turns out there are five.

  • Smoke Ganja Hard - Little John
  • Must Be The Ganja - Eminem
  • Ganja Bus - Cypress Hill with Damian Marley
  • Ganja Farmer - Marlon Asher
  • Ganja in My Brain - Ras Matthew

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Harvey Pekar, Dead at 70

In MemoriumHarvey Pekar was 70. His "American Splendor" comics, which he began publishing in 1976, chronicled his grousing about work, money and the monotony of life.

Here's his classic appearance on Letterman from 1988 when he got banned from the show.

And if you haven't yet seen American Splendor, the 2003 biopic starring Paul Giamatti as Harvey Pekar, you're missing out. It's fantastic.

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Necessary Firefox Add-On Cleanse

firefoxOne month ago, FootieFox was installed. Today, the necessary cleanse begins.


Thanks, FootieFox! See ya in four years...

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Bob Sheppard, Dead at 99

In MemoriumBob Sheppard was 99. He was the longtime New York Yankees public address announcer.

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Romper Room and Friends

TVAnother retro gem shared by Retrontario got me thinking about Romper Room this morning. If you're like me, with a common first name, you remember how awesome it was when the hostess looked through her magic mirror and saw you.

I actually thought Romper Room was a Canadian show, but it turns out it was actually an American franchise. Localities could buy the show and produce their own version of it.

From Wikipedia:

In Canada, the first station to start airing the locally produced version of Romper Room was CKLW-TV in Windsor, Ontario, which at the time was serving the Detroit, Michigan television market, in 1954, the year the station signed on. Besides Windsor, CJCH-TV in Halifax, Nova Scotia also produced a local version during the 1960s. This program (The CJCH version) along with its host "Miss Ann" (Ann Wilson) moved to CHSJ-TV in Saint John, New Brunswick during the 1970s. Another version was also produced at CHCH-TV in Hamilton, Ontario. Another in Kelowna B.C. CHBC. Another version ran from CFCF in Montreal during the 1960's.

A nation-wide program that ran during the 1980s on CTV was produced at CKCO-TV in Kitchener, Ontario and was hosted by "Miss Fran" (Fran Pappert), "Miss Jean" (Jeanette Moffat) and "Miss Betty" (Betty Thompson). The Canadian version of the program used the same opening credits and "Pop Goes the Weasel" theme as the US version, the Jack-in-the-box logo, and other elements such as the Do-Bee character and the Magic Mirror (including the psychedelic visual effect that went along with it). When the US franchise changed the title to Romper Room and Friends, the Canadian series followed suit.

This clip is from the opening of Romper Room and Friends, produced at CKCO-TV in Kitchener. I remember this well...

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Test Driving a 2011 Taurus AWD Limited

carThe gang at Ford and I go way back. A couple of years ago, they put me in a Ford Focus for a week. Then, last year, I got a Ford Fusion for a week. This summer, I'll be driving two cars, starting with the 2011 Ford Taurus AWD Limited I picked up yesterday.

To be honest, I like smaller cars. I always have, and I think I always will. I'm looking forward to next week when I get the Fiesta, but this Taurus has been a fun drive. It's sure roomy, and it's got the Sync technology so I can have fun with my iPod and Blackberry. Not to mention the navigation system and Sirius radio, so I can listen to Howard Stern. It's fully loaded with plenty of fun perks. My current car doesn't even have automatic windows.

There's another reason I wanted to try out the new Taurus. Many moons ago, I owned an '86 Ford Taurus. I bought it for $100 and drove it into the ground. It's the car I drove before I bought my current car, and I loved it.

Here's my old Taurus:

My '86 Taurus

Here's the 2011 Ford Taurus AWD Limited I'll be driving all week:

pics 036 pics 035 pics 038 pics 037

This will be fun.

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The Long, Frustrating, Sad Tale of MartinStreek.com

mouseIn March, I wrote martinstreek.com: Help Me Get It Back Online. I saw martinstreek.com was offline and I wanted a tribute there by the one year anniversary of his death.

Jo Fergus left a comment explaining the unfortunate situation.

This doesn't look good...

Based on the registration dates of the domain name, it seems that martinstreek.com likely expired, and was re-registered less than a month ago!

What this indicates is that (once again) some anonymous, lazy, parasitic domain "squatter" is sitting on this known name/brand to generate revenue for themselves with every click on their illegitimate site. The only way to stop them would be through a trademark dispute via WIPO.org

Creation date:
27 Feb 2010 13:24:00
Expiration date:
26 Feb 2011 11:19:00

Pete from coreFusion Inc., another reader of this blog, knew people at the registrar, and wrote me this update.

The domain expired. The way they work, I'm sure you know is the domain account holder is notified, if it was Martin, these went nowhere. After it expired, eNom registered it, they are basically squatting on it. I have sent correspondence to them to the effect that I would like to acquire it. We'll see what happens there.

The person squatting on martinstreek.com and essentially holding it ransom used a broker, and here's the email we got from the broker when we inquired about the domain name.

The seller is asking $3000 USD for martinstreek.com
Let me know how you’d like to move forward.
Best Regards,

Around this time, I was contacted by the web guy for Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker, an awesome Parkdale group that was very close to Martin and sincerely appreciated his support. He had read my plea and offered to help us get martinstreek.com back. He noted that Aquirethisname.com's work on behalf of the seller was against the cybersquatting act and the ICANN law, so we contacted the WIPO who told us to file an official dispute. The cost for a hearing would be $3000, exactly what the cybersquatter was asking for.

We contacted the seller again to let them know they were violating those laws and we were told us to send in proof of trademark. Unfotunately, Martin never trademarked the name "Martin Streek", so the only foundation we would have to go on is intellectual property law. But that would require the WIPO and the aforementioned $3000 filing. Clearly WIPO is designed for corporations and money-rich megastars who have millions to throw around, and not the common person. He contacted several lawyers on the WIPO board who refused to let us know if it was a valid claim. We decided not to go through WIPO, determining that could be pointless and a waste of money.

The entire ordeal was quite frustrating, and in the end we accomplished little. But we tried. Man, did we try.

In addition to all the help I got from Pete and USS for letting us use their lawyer, I want to thank Pat Leyland for his help.

A few months of back and forth with the registrar/seller and we're at an impasse due to the unique circumstances of the situation. Overall, it's just a highly unethical, illegal situation that can't be fought without what seems like endless resources. martinstreek.com remains offline, without a tribute to Martin, and for that, I'm truly sorry.

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Germany Won't Win the 2010 World Cup

soccerI've changed my mind. Despite what I wrote earlier in the week, Germany will not win the 2010 World Cup.

I blame Paul the psychic octopus.


[via reddit]

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Brett Lebda Signs With Maple Leafs

leafsBrian Burke made a huge splash in the free agent pool by signing unrestricted free agent defenceman Brett Lebda to a two-year contract, worth $1.45 million per season.

Lebda, 28, has appeared in 326 regular season games amassing 18 goals, 50 assists, and 201 penalty minutes. But he's a #5 or #6 defenseman on a team that desperately needs help up front. And we already have Dion Phaneuf, Tomas Kaberle, Jeff Finger, Francois Beauchemin, Luke Schenn, Carl Gunnarsson and Mike Komisarek.

I take it the signing of Lebda means Kaberle is as good as gone. Either that or Burke has completely lost his mind.

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Chis Bosh: 7 Years, 3 Playoff Wins

basketballI've already said goodbye to Chris Bosh. There was no doubt he'd sign elsewhere. His announcement today that he's joining Dwyane Wade‎ in Miami makes it official, but it's hardly a surprise.

I should preface the following by admitting I liked Chris Bosh. I liked him a lot. He was our best Raptor for 7 years, and unlike Vince Carter, he never quit on us. He'd rub me the wrong way with his album promos and DVD sales pitches, but he was a bona fide all-star and he was ours.

But with Chris Bosh as our leader these past seven seasons, our Toronto Raptors won a grand total of 3 playoff games. That's it. 7 years, 3 playoff victories.

It's a good thing Miami still has Dwyane Wade‎.

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2010 Polaris Prize Nominees

musicThe 2010 Polaris Prize nominees have been unveiled.

The Besnard Lakes – The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night
Owen Pallett – Heartland
Broken Social Scene – Forgiveness Rock Record
Radio Radio – Belmundo Regal
Caribou – Swim
The Sadies – Darker Circles
Karkwa – Les Chemins De Verre
Shad – TSOL
Dan Mangan – Nice, Nice, Very Nice
Tegan And Sara – Sainthood

A jury of 198 music journalists, broadcasters and bloggers from across Canada submitted their top five picks for best Canadian album released between June 1, 2009 and May 31, 2010. These picks were narrowed down to a Long List of 40 which was made public June 17, 2010. A Grand Jury of 11 members will be specially selected to convene and determine this year’s winner on location at the Polaris gala.

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The Edge 102 Tribute to Martin Streek - All 3 Hours as MP3s

mp3Yesterday, in my entry about the one year anniversary of Martin Streek's passing, I shared all five hours of David Marsden's tribute to Martin. In the comments of that entry, someone asked if I had the three hours of Edge 102's tribute to Martin that aired on July 19, 2009.

I did have those MP3s, and now I'm pleased to share them with you.

» Martin Streek Tribute on The Edge 102.1 PART 1
» Martin Streek Tribute on The Edge 102.1 PART 2
» Martin Streek Tribute on The Edge 102.1 PART 3

Here's the entry I wrote immediately after listening to this tribute on CFNY / The Edge 102.1.

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Martin Streek: The Day the Spirit Died

Martin StreekOne year ago today, I wrote the toughest entry I've ever had to write. It was about Martin Streek.

I'm not sure how to write this one, so I'm just going to tell you what I know.

As a long time fan of CFNY / Edge 102, I was sad to learn recently that Martin Streek had been fired after over 20 years of service. As of this writing, that entry had 88 comments from others who wanted to wish Martin well. Soon enough, Martin Streek himself chimed in to say thanks.

Thank to those of you who made comments, both good and bad...either way, it's proof that you listened and/or cared about the scene I/we were part of...

Earlier today, Martin Streek updated his Facebook status message with words that sound so ominous now. This, it turns out, is Martin's farewell to the world.

So...I guess that's it...thanks everyone...I'm sorry to those I should be sorry to, I love you to those that I love, and I will see you all again soon (not too soon though)... Let the stories begin.

My entry about Martin Streek leaving CFNY / Edge102 is #1 when you Google his name, and Steve did just that an hour ago.

I just heard that Martin has passed away... very sad to hear.... (I was a cfny staffer back in the 80s and just heard this from Earl J.)

At first, I thought it was a cruel joke. Martin Streek seemed so vibrant, so full of life. But after chatting with Steve, and seeing the Facebook status message, I'm afraid it's true.

Martin Streek has taken his own life.

Martin's death hit me hard. I know I wasn't alone, because I heard from hundreds and hundreds of Martin's friends and fans over the weeks that followed. This black cloud eventually took the form of an entry I wrote entitled "Thoughts on 102.1 Tribute to Martin Streek, Shitty Facts, Closure Sought."

As insinuated in this excellent Globe and Mail piece by Bert Archer (in which I'm quoted), Martin's death also acted as a tragic final nail in the coffin of what was "the spirit of radio". CFNY / Edge 102 was my go-to station for as long as I can remember, but I hardly listened this past year. Martin epitomized passion for music, was a rare link to the David Marsden era, and literally had the spirit of radio logo tattooed on his ass. When he was let go six weeks prior to his suicide, it marked more than the loss of an energetic, knowledgeable and beloved local deejay. It marked the end of an era.

I've put all my Martin Streek entries in a new Martin Streek Remembered category, so if you want to read more I've made it easy for you. At the end of this entry, I'm posting all five hours of David Marsden's excellent tribute to Martin that aired on 94.9 The Rock out of Oshawa.

We lost Martin one year ago today, but we'll never forget him. His spirit lives on.

» Martin Streek Tribute with David Marsden PART 1
» Martin Streek Tribute with David Marsden PART 2
» Martin Streek Tribute with David Marsden PART 3
» Martin Streek Tribute with David Marsden PART 4
» Martin Streek Tribute with David Marsden PART 5

Martin Streek1

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Bob Probert, Dead at 45

In MemoriumBob Probert was 45. He was the former Detroit Red Wing and Chicago Blackhawk known best for his 231 career fights and his 3300 PIMs.

I'll never forget his Norris division tilts with Wendel Clark.

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Power's Out in Toronto

boltThe power seems to be out in most of Toronto.


I'm told an explosion at a transformer station has caused a widespread power outage affecting large parts of the downtown and west end.

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It's a Double Rainbow All the Way - OH MY GOD!!!!1

humourJust once in my life... just once... I want to feel what this guy felt at Yosemite Bear mountain.

it's a double rainbow, all the way.

Oh my God, it's so intense.

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Lydia Stratus Fired, Along With Virgin's Jimmy T, Chris Biggs and Taylor Kaye

radioI don't listen to Virgin Radio 999 FM, but I hear they've recently purged most of their on-air talent. It's an Astral-owned company, so this isn't particularly surprising. Astral's been doing a lot of this lately, I just hope my buddy Humble is safe.

Joining Jimmy T, Chris Biggs and Taylor Kaye in the unemployment line is Lydia Stratus. The 999 Virgin Radio show listing is now primarily made up of imported syndicated shows, by Ryan Seacrest, Perez Hilton and Akon. The only actual local personalities left are the morning duo of Mad Dog and Billie, a lady named Kella and a gentleman named Adam Wylde.

Chatter at the SOWNY forum suggests these latest firings have little to do with ratings and everything to do with a salary dump. Someone there named ahl puts it like this:

It was explained to me by a person in a position to know that it's all about share holders getting a return on their investment. If they can't get it with improved ratings and higher sales then the next option is to cut expenses and the easiest target is salaries. With a few exceptions "spend to make" is gone from the corporate vocabulary replaced with "slash to make".

It sounds like Astral and Rogers employ similar radio management methodologies. Virgin Radio listeners, were Chris Biggs, Taylor Kaye, Jimmy T and Lydia Stratus good hosts? Does their absence have you considering another radio station?

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Maple Leafs 2010/2011 Season Countdown Clock

ClockIf you click on over to https://www.torontomike.com/countdown.html you'll learn there are 95 days, 8 hours, 23 minutes, and 22 seconds left until the Maple Leafs opener against the Habs.

That countdown clock will track the seconds remaining until we drop the puck for real once more. I've done this every summer for eight years and there's always at least one fan who checks it daily.

I recommend checking it hourly.

Our Most Important Ornament

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Germany Wins 2010 World Cup

soccerEvery four years, I miraculously transform into a soccer aficionado. I'm actually surprised they're still going through with the semi-final matches this week. I mean, why bother? Germany can't lose this World Cup.

Why am I so certain Germany will win the 2010 World Cup? A pattern has emerged...


[via electru.de]

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June 2010 Organic Search Keywords

Search Strings According to Google Analytics, here are the top ten organic search keywords that brought people to this site in June 2010.

  1. toronto mike
  2. teri polo death
  3. fan 590 changes
  4. fan 590
  5. big shiny tunes 2
  6. cool wedding songs
  7. fan 590 firings
  8. fadoo
  9. anne mroczkowski
  10. mike wilner suspended

I count 5 of 10 related to The FAN 590. I find it interesting they'd clean house as summer begins when they're clearly not introducing permanent replacements yet. In fact, it seems they're taking the summer off and mailing it in for a while.

That'll get the regulars Googling.

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H1N1 / Swine Flu Didn't Kill Us, and That's Good and Bad

MedicalI started listening to my swine flu playlist well over a year ago. At that time, the WHO was already ready to pounce on this sucker by labelling it a "pandemic". Nobody wants to hear the word "flu" and "pandemic" in the same sentence.

Getting my H1N1 vaccination was a no-brainer. My whole family got one, it was a simple risk/reward analysis. As it turned out, the swine flu epidemic never materialized. In fact, the swine flu killed fewer people than the annual seasonal flu varieties, about 12,000. This is good news.

But... this is also bad. The next time there's a potential pandemic, how many people will ignore warnings from governments and public health officials? You know the types who don't believe in flu shots and think they know better than medical doctors... they'll say "yeah, sure there's a bird flu coming... just like the swine flu, right?"

I'm just worried about the next time governments and public health officials ring the alarm. Fewer people will be listening, unfortunately...

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Lessard Park Gets New Playground

constructionThe kids have always enjoyed Lessard Park. It's a little park in west Toronto on top of the ravine that leads down to Etienne Brule Park by the Humber River near Old Mill. Now that I think of it, I used to enjoy Lessard Park as a kid as well.

It's got a big field and baseball diamond, and they've just torn down what I thought was a pretty good playground and replaced it with a brand new one.

We dropped by at the end of our walk last night to see how the construction was going. There was enough in place that the kids could start breaking in the new funnery.

Lessard park

Lessard park Lessard park

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The Hangover Review

Movie ReviewThe Hangover: 8 out of 10.

Remember that movie you all saw last year that you all said was really funny and that I should definitely go see it?

I saw it, and it was pretty funny.


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Underground Bars in Toronto

beerDo you know what I don't write about nearly often enough? Underground bars in Toronto. I'm not really a bar or pub guy, and these things are underground. How am I supposed to know they exist?

This entry was written by Samantha. I just felt you all needed to learn about underground bars in Toronto. Everything after this line was authored by her in this guest post.

As I am sure you guys already know, Toronto boasts a solid nightlife full of vibrant and colourful people. The majority of the clubs found in Toronto play the same old songs with the same old people. However, what you might not know is Toronto has one of the fastest growing underground nightlife scenes Canada has to offer. If you are looking for a pub or bar that is a little less-known and less mainstream, follow my list found below.

The Hidden Lounge

The Hidden Lounge is an underground supper club that is located in a downtown loft. They host monthly dinner parties, "which consist of a group of strangers gathering together to share their passion of gourmet food, good company and interesting conversation". This makes for a really cute date provided both of you feel comfortable making fools of yourselves.

They are open Sunday through Tuesday and can also accommodate private functions.

All their food is prepared in house and nothing is bought pre-made or in bulk. This allows for an ever changing menu. It's rare that I see the same thing on the menu the next time I decide to throw my diet out the window. Another awesome idea I thought The Hidden Lounge brought to the Toronto nightlife is the BOYB concept. For a night spot, I think this could be very risky, but interesting none the less.

The Anti-Restaurant

If you are an avid foodie than the Anti-Restaurant is the place to be. Believe it or not, the Anti-restaurant is an invite only restaurant. Before planning a supper there, you must fill out a questionnaire that asks for your profession, three favourite restaurants in TO, and what your last meal on earth would be. If they like your answers, you get on the e-visit list, if not, see you next time.

C Lounge

The C Lounge is a spa-inspired bar, the first of its kind in Toronto. There is an outside water area, which is surrounded by cozy VIP cabins and couches. It reminds me, in some ways, to the cafe in the Wynn Encore Las Vegas.

If the partying is getting too intense, or the music too loud, take a break to get your hair or makeup touched up by one of their beauty specialists. If you're a guy and do not need a beauty touch up, their massage parlour is sure to loosen you up. C Lounge offers a wide variety of unique services that cannot be found anywhere else in the city.

Devil's Martini

One of the top rated martini bars in Toronto is Devil's Martini. You can dance, drink and party with some of Toronto's coolest locals. The drinks are truly phenomenal. They have some martinis on that list that I never knew even existed. I drank a few martinis in my time but never with the creativity and presentation of those found at Devil's Martini. It is a great place for a pre-meal drink or a quick night cap after a date.

Seven Lounge

One of the newest nightclub/bars in Toronto is Seven Lounge. Featuring sleek, modern interior and a floating staircase, many customers report that one of the main reasons they visit is to see the unique styling and décor. The decor is not the only thing that they have to boast about. They have the best view of the Toronto skyline as well as a barbecue pit. How many clubs do you know have BBQ pits? They will also play around with the theme of the Seven Deadly Sins. I am excited to see what they have in store for Wrath!

Only time will tell if they will be able to sustain the recent success. However, they definitely have the potential to keep growing and earn their spot in Toronto's powerful nightlife.

This is just a brief look at what Toronto's nightlife has to offer. I definitely urge you to check out these bars in the near future. Please let me know what you think. I'd love to know if you guys share the same feelings as I do.

Writer's Bio:
Samantha Wheeler
Freelance Writer

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Colby Armstrong Signs With Maple Leafs

LeafsBrian Burke has pulled the trigger on his first free agent signing of 2010. He's signed Colby Armstrong, who played with the Atlanta Thrashers last season. He'll make $3 million a year for the next three years.

He's a tough 27-year old with with 78 goals, 100 assists and 317 penalty minutes in 360 career games. Burke sure likes the players that are tough to play against, but at some point he's going to have to add a skilled forward or two or we're in for another long season.


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143 Years of Canada Lovin' Blog Entries

canadaHappy Birthday, Canada, you're 143 years young today.

Over the past 7.5 years I've written quite a bit about you. All of those posts can be found at https://www.torontomike.com/o_canada/. But here are a few of my favourites, in the order I wrote them.

  1. Vimy Ridge
  2. O Canada! (2003 Version)
  3. A Distinct Identity
  4. Blame Canada
  5. Reason Number 32
  6. Our Other Anthem
  7. The Maple Music Revolution
  8. My Ten Favourite Song References to A Canadian Place
  9. Best Canadian Movies
  10. Top 100 Canadian Songs: The Definitive List
  11. D'oh Canada!
  12. My Ten Favourite Canadian Albums
  13. Helping Fukuoka, Japan Celebrate Canada Day
  14. 117,000 Reasons to Remember
  15. Canada Owns Podium in Vancouver

Happy Canada Day!

O Canada

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Kris Versteeg Traded to Maple Leafs

LeafsOn the eve of this free agent frenzy we call Canada Day, Brian Burke pulled the trigger on a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks that has Kris Versteeg coming to town.

The Leafs get the 24-year-old Versteeg along with the rights to left winger Bill Sweatt, Chicago’s 38th choice in the 2007 entry draft. Toronto give up winger Viktor Stalberg and prospects Chis DiDomenico and Philippe Paradis.

I'm sorry to see Stalberg go but delighted we landed Kris Versteeg, and not just because I took him in this year's playoff pool. He played in 79 games last season, picking up 20 goals and 24 assists to place sixth in team scoring.

Today should be fun.

Update: Versteeg raps!

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