September 2011 Archives
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Eight years ago this month, I wrote about drug addition and Vancouver's Insite clinic. Let's revisit that entry...
September 15, 2003 @ 21:38
Today marked the official opening of North America's first legal safe-injection site at 139 East Hastings St. in Vancouver, B.C. It will be staffed by 16 nurses, four alcohol and drug counsellors and peer counsellors. At the injection site, addicts get clean needles and inject themselves at small booths in a room supervised by a nurse. After shooting up, they go to a "chill-out room" before returning to the streets. Up to 800 people are expected to use the facility each day.
Already upset over Ottawa's plan to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana, this facility has been criticized by U.S. officials who say it is an example of Canada becoming lax in the battle against illegal drugs. Once again, the needle's point has been missed.
Those addicted to heroin are sufferers of a dehabilitating disease. Many will overdose and die. Up to 40 percent of these addicts have HIV or AIDS and 90 percent have hepatitis C. Allowing people to inject in a clean place and with ready access to medical help will reduce the spread of these diseases and dramatically reduce accidental overdose deaths. This isn't about legalizing heroin and crack, this is about saving lives. "It is not I who become addicted, it is my body." - Jean Cocteau
At the time I wrote that entry, the political pressure against this site was coming from the United States. Jean Chrétien's Liberal Party was in power here, and Stephen Harper was Leader of the Opposition. His Canadian Alliance party had not yet united with the Progressive Conservative Party.
Stephen Harper's Conservative Party eventually gained power and Harper sought to end Insite's special exemption from prosecution. Today, in a unanimous decision that brings me great joy, the Supreme Court of Canada has ordered the federal government to stop interfering with Vancouver’s Insite clinic. This opens the door to supervised drug injection clinics across the country.
This may not stop them from using the way heroin treatment options are supposed to, but at least it would reduce the harm caused by injecting the drug.
Writing for the majority, Chief Justice McLachlin said that addicts are extremely sick individuals whose urgent need frequently leads to them inject drugs with dirty needles after dissolving narcotics in dirty puddle water.
She noted that by 1993, 200 people were dying annually in the Downtown Eastside. Numerous others were contracting AIDS/HIV or other serious illnesses from their drug activities.
Serious drug addiction is not a moral choice; it is an illness which essentially negates the notion of “choice” altogether, Chief Justice McLachlin said. She said that adopting a moral attitude toward an addict's “choices” – as the federal government did – was simply the wrong approach to take.
“On future applications, the Minister must exercise that discretion within the constraints imposed by the law and the Charter, aiming to strike the appropriate balance between achieving public health and public safety,” the Court said in a 9-0 ruling.
Indeed, drug addiction is a health issue. Insite saves lives, with immense benefits that are irrefutable. As a compassionate, humane and sensible nation, we should build more safe injection sites across this country, and less jails.
Thank you, Supreme Court of Canada. You did it again.
Here's a scene from this past season of Curb Your Enthusiasm. As you'll see, Larry and Jeff discuss the use of smiley faces in texts and Larry predicts the New York Times will eventually use it in a headline.
Yesterday, the New York Times published this article with the headline "Twitter Study Tracks When We Are :)".
Bonus Larry David Prediction: The Red Sox went 6-17 down the stretch after Bill Buckner's appearance. Larry David just happens to be a big Yankees fan.
What the hell happened to September?
This is your chance to share a thought, an opinion, a commentary, a response, an engagement... whatever you want. Pound the keys!
What's on your mind?
I hate the Red Sox. Not as much as I hate the Yankees, but it's a pretty strong hate. Needless to say, I was rooting for a Red Sox loss and a Tampa Bay win last night, but with the Rays down 7-0 to the Yankees and the Red Sox up 3-2 in Baltimore, I figured I wasn't going to get my way.
That's when everything I love about sports came together. Boston closer Jonathan Papelbon struck out the first two batters in the ninth, putting them an out away from beating the Orioles. Then, right on cue, Chris Davis doubled. Then Nolan Reimold doubled. And finally, Robert Andino singled to hand the Red Sox their 19th loss in their last 26 games.
Meanwhile, in Tampa Bay, the Rays were pulling off quite the comeback. They beat the Yankees 8-7 on an Evan Longoria 12th inning walk-off homer to win the wild card spot. The Red Sox, against all odds, were done.
Hey Boston, how do ya like them apples?
It's the 90s, and you can comment or not.
[via Everything is Terrible]
Freddie P is sharing a story today about the studio they're building for the new Humble and Fred Radio show. I've been to their new studio a couple of times now, including yesterday, so I'm going to spill the beans as to what this place is really like.
Firstly, it's in the most industrial area of South Etobicoke. We're talking Browns Line and Horner... a.k.a. Etobicoke's less glamourous side. The neighbourhood has all the flavour of tofu.
Then, when you enter the building, it's every man for himself. The place is perpetually under construction with temporary stairs and falling walls. It's like those abandoned buildings in Detroit you've seen on the internet.
If you're lucky enough to find the new home of Humble and Fred, you'll notice it's got a desk and a couple of chairs. That's about it. Oh... and there's a very large aquarium full of little fish. In fact, during my visit yesterday that aquarium was getting cleaned. That made it the only cleaned thing in the entire building.
Now clearly the boys are working with Jeff Lumby to pretty the place up and ensure the audio is top notch. That audio is really all you should care about. What do you care if they're working out of a dumpster, so long as they're producing compelling free content for you?
The new site, by the way, is almost ready to go live at www.humbleandfredradio.com. I'll let you know when it does....
I work with a very persistent young lady who really, really wants me to promote the Android TO conference. Sorry... I've just been told it's actually the AndroidTO conference. My bad.
Coincidentally, I'm days away from reviewing the Motorola Xoom, a tablet running Android. The Xoom is my first foray into the world of Android, and if I were to become an Android bigot, I very well might be interested in this AndroidTO conference taking place in Toronto on October 26.
This was sent to me by Farah.
Celebrate Everything Android at the Second Annual AndroidTO Conference:
Smart phones are an asset in our lives. Almost half of internet users are now accessing the internet through their mobile phones. Amongst the usual suspects in the smartphone market, a recent report by Cansalys stated that the Android smartphone is leading this change. Worldwide smartphone shipments grew 73% year over year, but Android grew much faster – 379% year over year. The analysis firm tracked smartphones in 56 countries and Android was the most distributed in 35 of them. For the last quarter, Android reached 48% global market share.
Canada has lagged behind in adoption of Android-based handsets with March 2011's ComScore results indicating Android only has 12.2% penetration in the smart phone market. However, with the availability of better handsets at lower price point – this is expected to drastically increase over the next two to five years.
To encourage consumer, developer and marketer adoption in Canada, the second annual AndroidTO conference is back on October 26th, 2011 – the only conference in Canada that celebrates everything Android to the fullest. This one day event is dedicated to Android enthusiasts and developers who will learn about the Android platform and the opportunities surrounding it.
LEARN from the Best
AndroidTO offers a diverse line up of workshops and panels presented by Canadian and international mobile industry leaders. Learn in depth about the latest mobile technology trends and how you can leverage these effectively in your businesses.
CONNECT with the Right People
Learn about the world of Android from industry leading developers, hardware manufacturers and thought-leaders. Make contacts and share best practices with like-minded individuals in the community!
EVOLVE your Qualifications
Take an accelerated path to the skills you need to advance your career path and increase your professional value. Be the Android expert.
Leave with ACTIONABLE Knowledge
Prepare to add new value back in the real world, with an extended skill set you can put to use immediately. Gain insight from Android users to see what they have to say about your new Android projects.
A Few Conference Highlights
• Melody Adhami, COO at Plastic Mobile and crowned the "Queen of Apps" by Globe and Mail will be introducing Joomo - an automated platform that enables anyone to create high-quality native mobile applications across all mobile devices.
• Joe Lallouz, New York resident and lead Android developer at Hashable will be revealing the results of his unofficial poll amongst the top NYC Android app developers (Foursquare, GroupMe, Hashable). Find out what they wish they knew about Android development that wasn't in the Android Google docs.
• Andy Smith, Production Manager at Get Set Games (makers of the wildly popular Mega Jump) will present how the company is finding ways to make Mega Jump Android stand out, engage and monetize players, and the Android specific issues they have run into while trying to make Android a viable platform for a small company.
For more information, please visit: www.androidto.com.
This Android conference promises to be the most Android Android conference in this most Android of Android cities. Happy Android to y'all.
Tonight I was lucky enough to watch the Chiefs defeat the Bisons at High Park to win the championship.
My son happens to be a very proud member of the Chiefs, who won the series 3 games to 1.
Rathika Sitsabaiesan's Member of Parliament Profile reveals she's an NDP MP for Scarborough-Rouge River. If you click over, you'll see the profile pic on the left.
According to Contrarian, Rathika Sitsabaiesan's profile pic was originally the one you see on the right.
Can you see the difference?
The Ministry of the Solicitor General and the Ontario Provincial Police, back in 1981, wanted you to use your eyes if you're being robbed.
Because they can rob you, but they can't rob you blind. Unless they shoot you in the eye!
When I was a kid, I got excited when George Bell hit 26 homers in '84 and then 28 in '85. Jesse Barfield's 40 in '86 seemed unreal, and Bell's 47 in '87 felt Ruthian. When I was growing up, 40 homers meant something very, very special.
At some point in the mid-90s, 40 homer seasons lost their zest. 17 players hit 40+ homers in 1996. That surge continued through 2006 when 11 players hit 40+. Finally, things seem to have gone back to normal.
Only two players will hit 40 homers this season. That's our Jose Bautista and New York Yankee Curtis Granderson. 40 homers means something again.
Jim Henson would have been 75 today.
His most famous creation is probably Kermit the Frog, a character performed and voiced by Jim Henson until his death in 1990.
This picture always makes me sad.
You lucky bastards are getting three for one here. That's right, three radio hits in one entry.
See what I did there? I called them "hits" because "hits" are played on the radio. I could have called them "thoughts" or "points", but that wouldn't have been nearly as clever. Let's get to these hits, shall we?
1. Barry Taylor Returns to GTA Radio
I heard former CFNY / Edge 102 deejay Barry Taylor on Y108 this afternoon. He's got a weekend afternoon gig there, working Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 6pm. Barry Taylor is a hero of sorts, because he called Edge 102 out on the mat and taught me that I really don't know shit about radio. It's good to hear his voice on the radio again.
2. Girl Talk Has Changed the Way I Hear Songs
Earlier this morning, while in the shower, I heard Nirvana's Lithium on Edge 102. Listening to Lithium, only one of my favourite songs of all-time, I heard Salt-N-Pepa's Push It in my head. Apparently I've listened to a lot of Girl Talk the past few years and I can't hear a song he sampled without hearing the rest of his mash-up. Same thing happened when I saw Heart this past summer.
3. Edge 102 Should Re-brand Themselves RHCP Radio
Almost every time I tune in 102.1 they're playing a Red Hot Chili Peppers song. It happened again this afternoon when I heard Give It Away. Seriously, they play a lot of RHCP and I'm betting RHCP gets more coverage than any other band right now.
That is all. Continue enjoying your weekend.
I wore my Optimus Reim shirt today. You can get yours here. Optimus Reim, a.k.a. James Reimer, gets the start tonight in preseason play. He's a rather important part of the Maple Leafs' 2011/2012 hopes and dreams.
When I look at last year's team, a team that finished 22nd out of 30 teams, and compare it to this year's team, I don't see a monumental improvement. Sure, we're a little better, but the difference is marginal. We've added no superstars, no blue chippers... it's mostly more of the same with one giant X factor.
That X factor is James Reimer, a 23-year old kid from Manitoba who has played a mere 2080 minutes of NHL hockey. James Reimer didn't make his first NHL start until January 1, 2011, but already he carries the weight of our team's season on his shoulders. If James Reimer stays healthy and plays this upcoming season the way he played last season, the Leafs will be a much better hockey team and playoff bound.
Got that? It's pretty much the same team and will likely finish 10th or so in the conference unless Optimus Reim is the player we hope he is. Then, it's 6th, 7th or 8th!
Go Leafs Go! I see there's only 13 days, 4 hours, 58 minutes, and 44 seconds left until the opener.
It's funny how things change. In 2006, I listed my five favourite R.E.M. songs, and they were as follows:
- Follow Me
- Everybody Hurts
- Man On The Moon
- It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)
I still love those five tunes, but I think my list would look something like this today:
- Everybody Hurts
- It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)
- Radio Free Europe
- Man On The Moon
And even though I've removed Drive from the top five, it's still sinful that they didn't include it on their greatest hits album.
Say what you will about R.E.M., but they were undoubtedly one of the best bands that came out of the 80s and persevered. They were critical darlings who left college radio for the mainstream, but they kept producing good music for the bulk of their 31 years.
Their songs shall live in playlists forevermore.
It was almost four years ago that I begged the Blue Jays to bring back their old logo. That old Jays logo is the only one I'll wear. I love how the double blues are complemented by a healthy dose of Canadian red (with actual maple leaf!) popping on white. Here it is, in case you forgot what it looked like.
A site called Uni Watch claims to have the latest Jays logo, which looks like an updated version of their original. You'll see that supposed new logo below.
Muuuuuuuch better. The red maple leaf is back, and the blue jay looks great. I would wear this new logo.
What do you guys think? Do you like this new Blue Jays logo?
Good news everyone! Google+ is now in beta, and anyone can sign up.
For the past 12 weeks we've been in field trial, and during that time we've listened and learned a great deal. We're nowhere near done, but with the improvements we've made so far we're ready to move from field trial to beta, and introduce our 100th feature: open signups. This way anyone can visit google.com/+, join the project and connect with the people they care about.
I happen to love Google+, but none of you are there. There's a very few folks carrying the weight in my circles, but the interface is so great and the premise so fantastic, I check in daily to see if you'll show up.
Since I first popped into Google+, there's been dozens and dozens of enhancements. Google's not giving me a dime to promote this service, but I like it so much I'm going to annoy you with one final plea.
Give Google+ a chance. Now's a good time.
Update: You can add me on Google+. Click here.
Billboard has a great synopsis of the Pearl Jam Twenty soundtrack.
The die-hards have probably already seen it. If you're one of those early birds, please don't give away the ending. I want to see this.
"Release" (from Sept. 16, 2006 Verona, Italy)
"Written shortly after Eddie Vedder's arrival in Seattle, 'Release' always felt like a personal epiphany as well as an invitation to write from the heart," Crowe writes. And the version of this slow-burn "Ten" ballad documents a loving Italian crowd.
"Alive" (from Dec. 22, 1990 Seattle)
Says Crowe, "This is when many of the group's friends and family first heard the band and by the time they played 'Alive' heads were turning." The song that became the band's earliest signature song shows its power even here only two months after the band formed. Still a bit shy at this point, Eddie Vedder's powerful baritone shines through clearly.
"Garden" (from Feb. 19, 1992 Zurich Switzerland)
"Their first trip to Europe and the casual idea to play an acoustic show… a recipe for chaos turned into a beautiful chaos indeed," writes Crowe. This show paved the way for the band's memorable MTV Unplugged performance the next month.
"Why Go" (from March 10, 1992 Hamburg Germany)
Crowe: "A real-time document of the band finding their voice and an early crowd discovering it right along with them."
"Black" (from March 16, 1992 MTV Unplugged)
Crowe: "Vedder shuts his eyes, forgetting the cameras, and provides a truly galvanizing moment… singing one of this most personal songs." And rock fans all over the country saw it, complete with inspired additions, his voice booming over the acoustic guitars.
"Blood" (from March 25, 1995 Aukland, New Zealand)"Last Exit" (from Feb. 24, 1995, Taipei Taiwan)
A raw live version of the track from 1993's "Vs." Crowe: "It's an in-the-moment response to the group's increasing success. The performance is almost violent, a demand for oxygen."
Crowe: "It was a challenging time to go, … 'We might be a different band right now'" says Stone Gossard. "And maybe [the audiences] will like the new band." They did.
"Not For You" (from Feb. 26, 1995 Manila)
Crowe: "Spurred by Vedder's early defiance that the band not be used as a took for salesmanship. This cornerstone song from 'Vitalogy' shows the band at full raging force."
"Do The Evolution" (from Jan. 31, 1998 Monkeywrench Radio)
The raw, infectious rocker from 1998's Yield sent out from their Seattle studio space into the radio ether. Crowe: "The band filmed the performances, making the most of a small room filled with big noise."
"Thumbing My Way" (from Sept. 6, 2002 Seattle)
"This graceful acoustic performance captured the spirit of one of the band's favorite tracks from 'Riot Act'," Crowe writes. "We used it [in the film] to score a trip to Montana with Jeff Ament."
"Crown Of Thorns" (from Oct. 22, 2000 Las Vegas)
On Eddie Vedder's request at Pearl Jam's 10th anniversary show, the band covers this song by the late Andy Wood, frontman of pre-Pearl Jam band Mother Love Bone. Crowe: "Asked about it in 2010, Vedder recalled their afternoon soundcheck rehearsal of the song as a 'nearly blinding light-show of emotions."
"Let Me Sleep" (from Sept. 16, 2006 Verona pre-show)
Crowe: "A stolen moment from the road captured for posterity by Danny Clinch's cameras."
"Walk With Me" (from Oct. 23, 2010 Mountain View, CA)
Crowe: "Always searching for a song to perform together, PJ picked a choice track from [Neil] Young's 'Le Noise.' Young obliged and the result is this soulful union of old friends."
"Just Breathe" (from March 13, 2010, 'Saturday Night Live')
Crowe: "The group's history only makes this open-hearted composition more powerful." Vedder's ballad of enduring relationships, from 2009's "Backspacer," performed live on television.
"Say Hello 2 Heaven" (Temple of the Dog Demo, 1990)
Crowe: "Hearing this track and others brought back a flood of memories for everybody involved." One of Chris Cornell's first songs written in tribute to the late Mother Love Bone frontman Andy Wood, it became the beginning of the Temple of the Dog project that joined MLBer's new band, Pearl Jam, with half of Soundgarden.
"Times of Trouble" (Instrumental Demo, 1990)
Crowe: "'Times Of Trouble' is a track from the original demo tape made by Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament with help from Mike McCready and Matt Cameron. The one missing ingredient -- a singer." When the tape landed with Soundgarden's Chris Cornell, it became Temple of the Dog's song by this name. When it landed with San Diego surfer Eddie Vedder, it became the Pearl Jam song "Footsteps."
"Acoustic #1" (1991 Demo)
Crowe: "Eddie and Stone [Gossard] trading ideas and rhythms, exploring their newly minted potential." The singer, in big-voiced "Yellow Ledbetter" mode, ad-libs his way through the guitarist's loosely grooving riffs.
"It Ain't Like That" (1990 Demo)
Crowe: "A heavy slice of rehearsal magic." Chugging guitars and some tongue-in-cheek bon mots from Eddie Vedder.
"Need To Know" (2007 Demo)
Crowe: "A self-made demo that [Matt] Cameron would later submit to the band." In this form, it sounds destined for the drummer's post-punk side band Wellwater Conspiracy. When Eddie Vedder and the rest of Pearl Jam worked with it, it became the poppy 2009 single "The Fixer."
"Be Like Wind" (2010, Score)
Film scoring is "another home for [McCready's] sometimes ferocious, sometimes delicate always truthful style," says Crowe.
"Given To Fly" (2010, Instrumental)
The 1997 "Yield" single, "was originally written during a snowstorm shortly after McCready battled back some blizzards of his own," Crowe writes, perhaps obliquely referring to the guitarist's mid-90s struggles with alcohol. The Zeppelin-like music is played here by McCready as a soaring instrumental.
"Nothing As It Seems" (1999 Demo)
"'Nothing As It Seems' will forever feel like a portrait of [Jeff Ament's] roots," says Crowe. Here the bassist's demo, complete with his own Pink-Floydesque vocals, shows the song's beginnings.
"Nothing As It Seems" (from Oct. 22, 2001 Seattle)
The song, writes Crowe, "here finds its home on the stage." With a particularly enflamed Mike McCready solo, Ament's song is performed to a hometown arena crowd.
"Indifference" (from Bologna, Italy Sept. 14, 2006)
The closing song of 1993's "Vs." performed live. Crowe: "A visual and sonic highlight from our film."
"Of The Girl"
A deep album cut from 2000's "Binaural," resurrected here as an atmospheric instrumental. "[We] often found ourselves just listening in the editing room, appreciating all the layers to the 3D sound," explained Crowe.
"Faithfull" (from Sept. 20, 2006 in Pistoia, Italy)
A soundcheck moment, "outdoors in the sun, a world away from Seattle," writes Crowe.
"Bu$hleaguer" (from April 30, 2003 in Uniondale, NY)
Crowe: "A portrait of PJ at their most political." To say the least. The Long Island performance of the song, from 2002's "Riot Act" elicited a chorus of boos as Vedder donned a George W. mask and sang about "the haves have not a f*ucking clue." It was a difference of opinion between band and crowd that Pearl Jam was actually proud to countenance.
"Better Man" (from May 21, 2010 New York)
Crowe: "A PJ show anywhere in the world will often take you to a place like the one captured in this recent recording from Madison Square Garden." Here, the arena is filled with 20,000 fans singing louder than Vedder to this crucial track from 1994's "Vitalogy." It's also a key moment in the film that illustrates just how moving current Pearl Jam shows can be.
"Rearviewmirror" (from Oct. 1, 2009 Universal City, CA)
"The 'Rearviewmirror' jam is one of the best examples of what happens when the band is at the wheel and the ride is often psychedelic in its intensity," writes Crowe. And this latter-day rock out of a 1993 "Vs." tune shows how the band is constantly reinventing its live presence.
Google is getting smarter. They're now interpreting photos on sites running Adsense to serve up matching ad images.
Recall how sexy she was in Fatal Attraction...
Don't know about the rest of you guys, but nothing turns me on more than the Charlie Chaplin look in a gal..hot damn!
I play on two teams that play slo-pitch in the RSPA. One of these teams hasn't played weeks. In fact, I can barely remember playing Intermediate slo-pitch with the Piranhas. It's been a while.
My other team, Raging Storm, plays in the Competitive division, and this Storm won't die. We keep playing and playing in a double-knockout playoff structure that's far too complex for mere mortals to understand. All I know is we'll keep playing until we lose twice or win it all. Whichever happens first.
We played in the pouring rain last night. By the middle of game two, the puddle was up to our ankles when we stepped to the plate. My shoes are soaked. And we play two more games tonight.
Rumour has it a win tonight puts us in the finals against the Hawks, starting next week. Storm... you know what to do.
This morning's Terry Fox Run at High Park was a great success. Thanks to 30 of you, I managed to raise $860. It wasn't a personal best, but I'm damn proud nonetheless.
Thanks again, everyone. We'll do this again next year.
I guess when you don't consider yourselves a band, you can't actually "break up". The collective we know and love as Broken Social Scene has announced they're breaking up, but they refuse to use the b-word.
In Kevin Drew's words:
While we were on the road, we kept saying we would stop, but we just kept going. But now's the time because there are other projects that people want to pursue, and we feel that we've done what we wanted to do. I think we've really gone as far as we can with playing these tunes. It comes down to Kenny Rogers: 'You got to know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em.
Here's a list of one-time members. Let me know if I missed anyone.
- Amy Millan
- Andrew Whiteman
- Bill Priddle
- Brendan Canning
- Charles Spearin
- Chris Seligman
- Don Vail
- Elizabeth Powell
- Emily Haines
- Evan Cranley
- James Shaw
- Jason Collett
- Jason Tait
- John Crossingham
- Julie Penner
- Justin Peroff
- Kevin Drew
- Leslie Feist
- Lisa Lobsinger
- Mitch Bowden
- Ohad Benchetrit
- Torquil Campbell
Releasing balloons for orphans at the University of West England in Bristol goes not as planned. At least that's the quote that accompanies this video.
Pretending for a moment these balloons do in fact include messages from orphans, your job is to watch and not laugh.
Who laughed? I want names...
Frances Bay was 92. She was the Canadian character actress who frequently portrayed eccentric elderly women and good-hearted grandmothers.
I'll always remember her best for playing Happy Gilmore's grandma...
...and Mabel Choate on Seinfeld.
She loved her marble rye bread!
When HP sent me a Touchpad in July, I dove into the tablet market for the first time. The Touchpad didn't make it, but it got me wondering if there's a viable iPad alternative out there. No doubt Apple's iPad is a dominating #1, but what's #2?
I've been playing with RIM's Blackberry Playbook since August. What better day to publish a review of the PlayBook than the day after RIM's financial results told us how little demand there is for this device. The numbers tell us there really isn't a tablet market... there's an iPad market.
RIM's Playbook arrived with a very cool soft cover that made transporting it a breeze. I don't know why all tablets don't come with such a shield. This thing does the job perfectly, and I never felt a need to use any other case.
As much as I liked the case it comes with, I hated the power button. Of all the tablets I've tried this summer, none of them had a more frustrating power button. It's simply too small and in a very awkward place.
Those of you with iPads will notice how much smaller the PlayBook is by comparison. It's 7 inches vs. 10 inches, but you can't appreciate the size difference until you've held a PlayBook in your hand. It's this 7-inch size that had me loving the PlayBook. If I were Apple, I'd launch a 7-inch iPad. In my experience, 7-inches is the sweet spot (insert joke here).
In addition to the size, my favourite part of the PlayBook very well could be your least favourite part. You see, my smart phone is a Blackberry, and Blackberry smart phones sync wonderfully with the Blackberry PlayBook. You use an app called BlackBerry Bridge to get your messages, calendar and BBM on your PlayBook. You can also tether via Bluetooth to smart phones, if you're not near a wifi hotspot.
Now, if I didn't own a Blackberry, the Blackberry Bridge would be useless to me, and the value would be completely lost. At least the tethering doesn't depend on a Blackberry smartphone.
When I first wrote about the TouchPad, I complained about the lack of apps. I didn't have that problem with the PlayBook. I found a good one for Facebook, Twitter and the usual suspects.
If you're already using a Blackberry phone, I think you'd find great value in owning a PlayBook. The Blackberry Bridge works great, and the 7-inch tablet is the perfect size and ideal to do just about anything you'd want to do on a tablet.
RIM is trying to make headway in a market completely dominated by one company. Here's hoping they don't end up where HP ended up, because they've got a pretty good device here. Terrible power button notwithstanding.
I never liked the Tea Party. I'm talking about the now-defunct band from Windsor, of course, not that silly political movement in the States.
The Cancon band Tea Party owns TeaParty.com, and Business Week says that could make them rich.
There’s no hotter name in politics right now than the Tea Party. But anyone seized with a desire for smaller government who visits teaparty.com won’t find angry activists in tricorn hats spouting Thomas Jefferson. Instead, they’ll land on the website of a Canadian rock band of the same name that pioneered a style of Middle Eastern fusion known as “Moroccan roll” and broke up six years ago. This causes endless confusion for the millions of people who Google “Tea Party” each month. It’s no picnic for the band members, either. “So much damage has been done to our name by the political movement that we’re considering selling,” says Stuart Chatwood, The Tea Party’s bassist.
The article says TeaParty.com could sell for over $1 million. They've bought low, I say it's time to sell high. I'm sure they can pick up TeaPartyMusic.com for a great deal less.
On that note, the bidding for TorontoMike.com starts at $500. Do I hear $600?
It's time to close the communications loop. I wrote earlier this week about how ABC was using social media to reach out to publishers who promote their shows. I don't know if this is an ABC initiative or a Jimmy Kimmel Show initiative, but I just recieved a FedEx package from "Your Friends at Jimmy Kimmel Live".
You're probably curious what they sent me. As I said in the comments of that entry, I'd have been happy with a postcard, as this is completely "above and beyond" in my experience. It turns out I got something better than a postcard. I received a Jimmy Kimmel Live hat and letter.
Like I said, this little gesture will carry a lot of weight. Good on ABC for getting it.
I'll be at High Park Sunday morning for the 2011 Terry Fox Run. Many of you have already pledged, and I sincerely thank you.
The rest of you stragglers still have time. Donate to my run and they'll email you a tax receipt in PDF. It's easy, secure, for a good cause and I'll owe ya a favour.
Whip out those credit cards and click on over!
The top 25 scorers in National Football League history are all placekickers.
If you want to score, you better kick. Here's the top 25, if you're curious.
- Morten Andersen 2,544
- Gary Anderson 2,434
- John Carney 2,062
- Matt Stover 2,004
- George Blanda 2,002
- Jason Elam 1,983
- Jason Hanson 1,890
- John Kasay 1,823
- Norm Johnson 1,736
- Nick Lowery 1,711
- Jan Stenerud 1,699
- Adam Vinatieri 1,659
- Lou Groza 1,608
- Eddie Murray 1,594
- Al Del Greco 1,584
- Ryan Longwell 1,583
- Steve Christie 1,476
- Pat Leahy 1,470
- Jim Turner 1,439
- Matt Bahr 1,422
- Olindo Mare 1,420
- Jeff Wilkins 1,416
- Mark Moseley 1,382
- Jim Bakken 1,380
- Fred Cox 1,365
Hey Ry, I wrote about football!
This guy's name is Dan Speerin and he put together a little collection of what he perceives to be Rob Ford's top five WTF moments.
I think he's missing a lot. Post your favourite WTF moments from Rob Ford in the comments!
I've been hacking away at the new http://www.humbleandfredradio.com/, sending proofs to Humble and Fred to approve. The latest list of changes from the boys includes my absolute favourite customer request.
Humble just asked me to make the logo bigger.
Humble, this is for you.
The F-150 Raptor is back with Ford, but I've still got a few pics on the camera I'd like to share.
Enjoy these Ford F-150 SVT Raptor photos.
If you like what you see, I also photograph weddings, birthdays, Bar Mitzvahs and Bat Mitzvahs. Contact me for more details.
I recently wrote that the Lincoln MKX was the biggest car I've ever driven. That's no longer true. In fact, it's not even close. The Ford SVT Raptor is now by far the biggest automobile I've ever driven.
You gear heads will get off on the 6.2-litre V8 with 411HP and 434 ft-lb of torque. Ford tells me it's the "most powerful half-ton pickup available". I believe it. I've never had as much fun driving than I did this past weekend with the Raptor.
When you're driving the Raptor, you quickly get used to three things:
- You'll be bigger than all other cars on the highway - only the big rigs can compete
- You'll get lots of stares and guys will come up to you and tell you the Raptor is their dream car - if you tell them you own it, they'll be awfully jealous
- Parking it is your only problem - it simply doesn't fit in every spot and you'll be scared to take it underground - you'll end up parking it wherever you feel like it, because nobody would dare tow the Raptor
When I returned it yesterday, I was told I was the last one to borrow it. It's gone back to the dealer where it will cost you $80k or so make it yours.
I was also told that the guy before me took it off road with the windows down and it cost them $600 to clean it for me. I'm not making that up.
In closing, I loved my two weeks with the MKX and Raptor, but now I'm back to my Protege. I feel so low to the ground, I miss the powerful engine, and my dashboard doesn't seem interested in syncing to anything.
But damn, that was fun while it lasted.
Cliff Robertson was 88. He won the 1968 Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in the movie Charly but is best known to you kids as Uncle Ben in the Spider-Man film trilogy.
A few days ago I wrote about Hulu not letting me stream Jimmy Kimmel's tribute to his Uncle Frank. Hulu only works in America, you see, and I think that's a pity.
Earlier today, I received an email from Lucy who works for Jimmy Kimmel Live. During our brief exchange, Lucy thanked me for mentioning the show on this blog and asked me for my mailing address so they could send me a token of their gratitude. Lucy seemed sincerely grateful for the promotion and now I'm curious as all hell as to what she's sending me.
That, my friends, is social media at its finest. Jimmy Kimmel Live reached out to a blogger who referenced the show, and now I'm drenched in warm fuzzies. It was completely unexpected and unnecessary, but this little gesture will carry a lot of weight.
I'll let you know what they send me when it arrives. I hope other big companies are taking notes...
Andy Whitfield was 39. He starred as Spartacus in the cable series "Spartacus: Blood and Sand".
Dean Blundell's been tweeting today that he's thinking about packing it in soon. In fact, those are his exact words.
In that tweet, he says "Thinking of packing it in soon". When someone replied with a "say it ain't so", he replied with a clarifying "I think its so sir".
What has Dean Blundell tweeting about quitting the Dean Blundell Show on 102.1 The Edge? "Gotta grow dude. Noone knows how much time we have and its silly to not use it properly."
If Blundell does in fact step down from his morning show duties at the Edge, I hope he does something similar to what he used to do with Eye Weekly. His columns are no longer online, but if you click over to that entry I wrote, you'll see I copied and pasted a couple of the better ones in the comments.
But the question remains: much a-tweet about nothing or is the DBS winding down?
You don't need me to tell you what happened ten years ago today. I wasn't going to write a "where were you ten years ago today" entry, but here it is. I'm sincerely curious what you remember about that day and where you were when you found out.
Below are two entries from the archives that are worth revisiting today. I wrote this one on February 5, 2003.
At 8:59 last night, I did what I do every night at that time when the Leafs aren't playing. I got ready to watch the Simpsons on the Comedy Network. Little did I know what I was in store for on this particular night...
It was The City of New York Vs. Homer Simpson, an episode I have seen twice: when it originally aired in '97 and in syndication in y2k. I won't bore you with the premise, but smack dab in the middle of this episode Homer finds himself in front of the World Trade Center after consuming more than enough crab juice. With nature calling loud and clear, he runs up tower one of the World Trade Center to visit the public bathroom on the observation deck only to find it closed so he has to run quickly to tower two. There are a bunch of jokes tossed back and forth between those in tower one to those in tower two, your typical New York exchanges. The twin towers of the World Trade Center played quite a role in this episode, and I hadn't seen it since 9/11/01.
It takes a shot of the towers in an episode of the Simpsons to finally bang home to me the fact that these towers are no longer there. Sure, for days after 9/11 I read and watched almost everything on the attacks and the towers and again on the first anniversary I revisited the horrific moments when the towers came down but watching Homer interact with these New York landmarks provided me with a moment of clarity.
The twin towers of the World Trade Center are no more and that sucks.
I wrote this one on September 11, 2004, the third anniversary of the attacks.
Ask anyone where they were three years ago today and they'll tell you. 2,749 people were killed in Manhattan, 184 people died in Washington and 40 died in Pennsylvania as a result of the worst act of terrorism ever to take place on North American soil.
I remember that day vividly. I had been working away in front of my PC in the office since 8:30am and the day seemed typical. I had a glass of ice water beside me and I had just finished reading and replying to my email. Walter arrived and shared some news he had just heard on his car radio. This is when the day stopped being typical. A plane had hit the World Trade Center in New York City.
At that moment, I had no idea it was a large commercial passenger plane that was flown into the tower intentionally. I immediately assumed it was a Cessna that had perhaps flown off course. Still, I found it intriguing and jumped on the web for further details. Soon thereafter, the reality of the situation became apparent. A second plane struck the second tower and this was no accident. About a half hour later a third plane struck the Pentagon and then a fourth plane went down in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. The United States of America, our geographical neighbour, was under attack.
Fear. That was the primary emotion throughout the remainder of that day. We had no idea what was going to happen next and nothing felt as secure as it did when I awoke that morning. Nothing would ever again. I made contact with my wife who was pregnant with James at the time and heard through my mom that she and my brothers were okay and that gave me some personal relief. The large news websites were choking on the traffic that morning but I managed to stream a live news feed from CP24 which I stayed glued to. The occurrences and disposition of the day was surreal. So many dead, such devastation, so inhumane, so pointless.
I remember driving home that evening, looking towards the sky and realizing everything was different. I got home and wondered what world would be awaiting our son when he arrived. I felt such sympathy for those who lost loved ones that day and simultaneously felt relief that I wasn't one of them. I wondered if we would ever be able to laugh again and enjoy our freedoms and liberties once more.
We are now three years removed from that fateful day. We're laughing again, we're enjoying life, this nation is abuzz about a semi-final hockey game tonight at the ACC. I'm planning to enjoy a BBQ with my beautiful family who I adore with all my heart and then I'm going to watch the game and see Kid Rock at the Amp. We, as a society, have not only survived but have returned to enjoying this precious life. You can't kill spirit. You can't destroy hope. We've proved this. I can vouch for it.
"That some good can be derived from every event is a better proposition than that everything happens for the best, which it assuredly does not." - James K. Feibleman
Please leave a comment telling me where you were on 9/11 and what you remember about that infamous day.
I picked up the F-150 SVT Raptor yesterday morning. It's not like anything I've ever driven. It's crazy fun.
Firstly, it's massive. Absolutely gigantic. It looks like you could throw a subcompact car in the back. If size matters, this Raptor is king.
I'm getting out there again to see what this thing can do. I'll write more later. Maybe I'll try this:
In nine days I'm running in the Terry Fox Run. I'm aiming to raise $1500. I'm currently at $360.
Donate now. If you pledge more than $20 you get a tax receipt right away. Also, I'll know you pledged my run and will always have warm thoughts about you.
Do it for me. Do it for Terry.
Ricky Gervais' blog without permalinks contained this gem yesterday.
I've had one of my big ideas.
What do you think of this?
A live 3 hour podcast during The Golden Globes. Me and a few chums (like Louis CK, Chris Rock, Karl Pilkington, John Stewart, Larry David popping in and out) doing our own alternative commentary.
People at home can have the telly on with the sound down listening to us online say things that no broadcaster could get away with.
No one could do a fucking thing.
The biggest live webcast ever? Who knows? Who cares? What's fun is the shit we might come out with. No money. No sponsor. No guide lines. Fuck me I can't wait.
Maybe I'll do a non-broadcast practice with The Emmys to see if it works. I'll let you know.
I hope he does it. It could be amazing. It reminds me of the time Howard Stern tweeted while a local station aired Private Parts.
If Ricky did this, which audio would you choose: telecast or podcast?
Alan Cross was fired by Corus back in July. Now, he's been hired by Astral's Orbyt Media division.
He'll host a show called The Secret History of Rock with Alan Cross, which will sound an awful lot like his Ongoing History of New Music show we all know and love. Astral will air his show across Canada, and in Toronto on Boom 97.3.
Alan Cross can have his little Astral gig, and Colleen Rusholme can enjoy herself on Vinyl 95.3, but the real fun will be had by Humble and Fred on Humble and Fred Radio!
Has Bob McDonald ever produced a bad episode of Quirks & Quarks? If you're unfamiliar with Quirks & Quarks, you're missing out.
Quirks & Quarks is a weekly science news program heard on CBC Radio One. The original host was David Suzuki, who started with the program in 1975. Then, Jay Ingram hosted from 1979-1991 and Bob McDonald has hosted ever since.
Bob McDonald does a fantastic job, taking complex science and making it digestible and interesting to regular folks like me. You can download previous episodes at http://www.cbc.ca/quirks/episode/ and I suggest you dive in and hear what you've been missing.
Lots of people like to criticize the CBC, but in my humble opinion, they produce a wide variety of fascinating shows that always leave me wanting more. If I could only get one radio station, I'd want to get CBC Radio One.
I heard Jimmy Kimmel aired a sweet tribute to his Uncle Frank on Jimmy Kimmel Live yesterday. Hulu has the clip, all legal and everything, so I clicked on over...
Alas, when I tried to play Tribute to Uncle Frank, I was reminded it won't work for those of us outside of the United States, even if I pulled out my best Aeroplan card.
Screw Hulu, I'll watch it on YouTube.
Requiescat in pace, Uncle Frank.
How do you guys do it? You grab a quick cat-nap and then you're back at it, ready to tackle the remainder of the day.
I've never been able to nap. If I fall asleep before bedtime, I wake up feeling awful. I just want to go back to bed and sleep through the night, no matter what time it is.
I understand the benefits of napping, but I don't think I'm wired that way. How do you nappers do it?
I'm still driving the Lincoln MKX lent to me by Ford. Although I thought I hated big cars, I've never had more fun driving an automobile. It's also been the largest car I've ever driven, but that's about to change.
Ford saw me make that claim, and offered me an F-150 SVT Raptor for the weekend. Apparently, it will be the largest car I've ever driven. I'll find out Friday.
Now a quick word about the lost art of shillalry. Ford doesn't pay me to write about their fleet, but they do let me test drive their cars. I enjoy these little vacations from my '99 Mazda and write about the experiences. I've written 10888 entries and maybe 50 of those have been of the shill variety. That's 0.4592211609110948%. 0.4592211609110948% of entries on this site are about a product or service I got for free.
The other 99.5407788% is fair compensation, wouldn't you say? Hate these shillesque entries about the Lincoln MKX and F-150 SVT Raptor if you will, but ask yourself this question.... If you put as much time into your blog as I do, and Ford offers to lend you an F-150 SVT Raptor for the weekend, do you say no?
Igor Korolev was 41. He played 12 NHL seasons with the St. Louis Blues, Winnipeg Jets/Phoenix Coyotes, Toronto Maple Leafs and the Chicago Blackhawks. His tenure with the Leafs lasted four seasons and 297 games, resulting in 161 points.
Alexander Karpovtsev was 41. He played for the New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Chicago Blackhawks, New York Islanders, and Florida Panthers. His 125 games with the Leafs in 1998-1999 and 1999-2000 resulted in 44 points.
Brad McCrimmon was 52. He played defence for Boston, Philadelphia, Calgary, Detroit, Hartford and Phoenix from 1979-80 to 1996-97, collecting 81 goals, 322 assists and 1,416 penalty minutes in 1,222 NHL games.
Pavol Demitra was 36. In eight seasons with the St. Louis Blues from 1996 to 2004, Demitra had 204 goals and 493 points in 494 games. He also played in the NHL for Los Angeles, Minnesota and Vancouver.
May I have your attention please....
This entry is for you if you're a fan of:
- Humble and Fred
- Entertaining audio content
If you went 0-3, you can stop reading now. If any of the above apply to you, you may continue...
Humble and Fred Radio is coming soon. In fact, there's a countdown on the official site. I spent some time this past weekend working on the next iteration of that site, so I can vouch for the fact this is the real deal.
Humble and Fred Radio will provide you with fresh, daily content from the geeks that groove. Every single weekday these guys are going to record a show for you and make it available online. In addition to daily audio, you'll get both Humble and Fred blogging at their new online home, tweeting and making you laugh, think and feel again. Don't you want to feel again?
Here's what you need to know...
- It will all happen at http://www.humbleandfredradio.com
- You should follow @humblefredradio on Twitter
- I'll post more updates when we go live with the new site - hopefully by next week
I'm psyched about this project and thrilled to be working with Humble and Fred, the radio team that got me out of bed just about every morning of the 90s. This is going to be revolutionary.
If you're ever at a party, and the subject of God comes up, be like George Carlin. George Carlin got it, as you'll hear in this little interview he gave in 2007.
Seriously, George Carlin was fucking brilliant, and we miss him. Here's a pretty amazing tribute to George Carlin by another of my favourite comedians, Louis CK. The Louis CK we have today is thanks to George.
If you're hankering for more Carlin, check out my little collection of Carlin's best bits. The Religion is Bullshit one is perfect.
Tom Cheek deserves to win the Ford C. Frick Award. The Ford C. Frick Award is the highest honour for baseball broadcasters and they're now accepting votes as they select the final ballot for the 2012 Ford C. Frick Award. Go to http://www.facebook.com/baseballhall now and vote for Tom Cheek.
This is the eighth year I've encouraged you to vote for Tom Cheek as a finalist for the Ford C. Frick Award, and I take it personally that he's not yet in Cooperstown. Removing my extremely biased perspective for a moment, Tom Cheek called Blue Jays games since day one, calling 4,306 of them in a row. During that time Toronto won two World Series championships and a few additional division pennants. He was the voice of my summers.
Here are previous entries I've written about Cheek's eligibility for the Ford C. Frick Award.
- Vote for Tom - 2005
- The Ford Frick Award - 2006
- Show Tom Some Frick'n Respect - 2007
- The Annual Ford C. Frick Award Plea - 2007
- Cheek's Ford C. Frick Award - 2008
- Let's Get Tom Cheek His Ford C. Frick Award - 2009
- Tom Cheek Deserves the 2011 Ford C. Frick Award - 2010
And yes, I shall use this opportunity to remind you that I've archived all of Tom Cheek's Greatest Hits. Click over and remember the glory days of Blue Jays baseball. And don't forget to vote for Tom.
It's the last long weekend of the summer.
This is your chance to let it fly. Whatever your beef is, smear it below!
I've always preferred smaller cars. In fact, when it comes time to replace my '99 Protege, I'll likely look at the subcompact class. I'll probably end up with a Fiesta or something...
I probably won't end up with a Lincoln MKX, but that's what Ford has me driving this week. I've been driving it since Tuesday and I can honestly tell you this is the largest car I've ever driven.
It's big, but damn is it smooth. At the risk of getting this entry flagged as XXX, it's very big and smooth, thanks to its new 3.7L Ti-VCT V6 engine. No, I don't know what that means exactly, but it's awfully fun to drive.
What's the biggest car you've ever driven?
YouTube user shuanclayton took a series of 1950's and 60's-era coffee commercials from the Prelinger Archives and edited them down to just the moments when the guys were the biggest jerks to their wives about coffee.
Bob Laine was 72. He was a radio broadcasting legend at CHUM known as "The Voice" whose signature opening was "Good morning world, this is Bob-O. Good morning Bob-O, this is world."
Like many of you, I'm struggling with the fact that someone as likable and gregarious as Wade Belak would take his own life. As a die-hard Leafs fan, I knew him from interviews and appearances on television. Here's the Wade Belak I knew, appearing on Leafs TV with Jody Vance.
I see a young, happy, hilarious family man with every reason in the world to live. When Martin Streek took his own life, it was startling and puzzling, but Martin had battled demons. It still breaks my heart that Martin chose death, that he battled depression in silence, but Wade Belak's decision is even more baffling. Wade Belak was set to star on television, had a gig lined up with the Nashville Predators, and had two young children he adored. Wade Belak choosing death is beyond tragic, it's almost impossible to comprehend.
Over a year ago, I wrote about the stigma of mental illness and clinical depression. Wade chose to suffer in silence, smiling on the outside while hurting on the inside. Yesterday, Wade chose to end his suffering by taking his own life.
I can't help but wonder how things would have turned out differently had Wade chose to share his pain, talk about this disease and stop suffering in silence.
If you're suffering in silence, concerned about the stigma of mental illness and clinical depression, please talk about it in the comments. You don't have to use your real name, just share how you feel.
You're not alone.
Jon Simonassi took some great shots of the thunderstorm Toronto got last week.
He calls this "Lightning TO".
The song is called Leg Twitch by Professor Kliq.
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