October 2013 Archives

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Cops Have Crack Video: Our Mayor is a Liar (And possibly a Drug Mule)

The Comment From Rinse about Rob Ford's Crack UseThe staff at TorontoMike.com are busy going through the newly released court documents that show the alleged Ford crack video was the target of a police investigation that led to dozens of arrests.

There are lots of fascinating nuggets in this document, all painting the mayor as a guy with lots to hide, but commenter markosaar just asked the obvious question in the most recent Open Mike. Is Rob Ford, mayor of Toronto, a drug mule?

Jacobsen says Lisi was seen putting dry-cleaning from shop tied to drug arrest into Ford's car, white bags too #TOPoli

Police watched Ford and Lisi meet over 100 times: http://bit.ly/Hu9TS6

"On many occasions they followed him to meetings with Ford in parks. Detectives searched the area after and found empty vodka bottles."

"After Ford and Lisi met in person, detectives noticed a pattern. Later in the day, Ford, on his drive home, stopped in at the Esso at Edenbridge Rd. and Scarlett Rd., just a few doors east of the Ford home. While Ford was in the Esso station, which houses his favourite Tim Horton’s, Lisi would drive up in his Range Rover and place a package into Ford’s Escalade, then drive off."

It's okay, Ford's just a mule.

There's so much here I need a little time to digest it and I'd like to hear what Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair says at 11:30, but it's fascinating to see a video that Rob Ford says doesn't exist spark such an investigation and it's difficult to fathom why Ford would meet so often with a drug dealer in such discreet and skeezy ways.

I've known for some time that our mayor is a liar but I didn't realize he was also a drug mule.

Update: Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair says they have the video of Rob Ford smoking crack. Holy shit.

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My Halloween Costume Tonight

halloweenI've been advised by my son that he's going around with buddies tonight, but my daughter wants to go trick-or-treating with me. That means I'll be dressing up in the same costume I've worn the past six Halloweens.

It's quite simple. All I do is wear my old school goalie mask à la Friday the 13th's Jason.

Halloween 2009

The cosmic ballet continues...

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The LG G2 is One Fast Smartphone

LG G2When people ask me which smartphone I recommend, I tell them the truth. I prefer a device running Android and thoroughly enjoy my old Samsung Galaxy and my wife's Samsung Galaxy S III. If someone were to gift me a new smartphone today, I'd ask that it be the Samsung Galaxy S IV. After-all, if it ain't broke...

This week I'm test driving an LG G2 with TELUS. It arrived yesterday and I excitedly unwrapped it and customized the settings to my liking, downloading my favourite Android apps and connecting it to my Google account. Even during a Raptors and Leafs win, and a World Series clincher, I wasn't able to put this baby down.

Look what was just delivered!

Firstly, the screen is bigger, and I like bigger. It's a little wider than the Samsung Galaxy S IV with a little less bezel, meaning it's all screen. It's brilliant HD that I'm assured is as good as or better than the iPhone 5, but I don't have an iPhone 5 to verify that claim. But damn, videos look great on this thing.

I've been using it like crazy for about 24 hours now without a charge, and the battery is at 49%. That's impressive. I should be able to get two days out of this with normal usage without requiring a charge.

I'm also told this LG G2 has a great 13 megapixel camera, but I'll be running those tests later, along with some further battery tests. Right now I'm just thoroughly impressed with the speed and response times compared to my old Samsung Galaxy. It's lightning fast.


Here are the specs for this LG G2 from TELUS I'm having a great deal of fun with:

  • 5.2" HD-IPS screen with 1080x1920 pixels.
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 2 protection.
  • 16/32 GB internal storage, Lacks microSD card slot.
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chipset.
  • 2.26 GHz quad-core CPU, Adreno 330 GPU, 2 GB RAM.
  • Wi-Fi, 4G, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, A-GPS, FM radio, Infrared port, Micro-USB 2.0 (with OTG support).
  • 13 megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash.
  • Features Optical Image Stabilisation.
  • 2.1 megapixel front-facing camera.
  • Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass.
  • Available colours: Black, White.
  • 3000 mAh Li-Polymer battery.
  • Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean).

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Spooky Open Mike

Open MikeThis is the last Open Mike before Halloween. Spooky!

Feel free to use this space to vent, rant, share a story and/or ask a question of the hivemind.


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Questions for Humble and Fred

humbleandfredI'm biking over to visit Humble and Fred on Wednesday morning. I haven't been to the studio in quite a while, and this time I thought I'd ask them a few questions from you folks.

Do you have a question for Humble and / or Fred? Post it in the comments below and I'll ask them the best three...

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Conan Tours Toronto with Scott Thompson

Conan LiveIn February of 2004, Conan O'Brien brought Late Night to Toronto. I know because I was there.

While in Toronto, he had Scott Thompson from Kids in the Hall fame give him a tour.

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Why I Get the Flu Shot (And Why You Should Too)

Vaccination Distrust and Herd Immunity CompromiseI'll keep this brief, because it's become an annual event on this blog. If you want a longer version, read "Vaccination Myths Compromise Herd Immunity".

I always get the flu shot and my kids always get the flu shot. My mom and brothers get the flu shot as well, but I promised I'd keep this brief, so on to the highlights...

3 reasons you should get the flu shot:

It's the best show in town
No, the flu shot isn't perfect, but it's the best show in town. Even if it's only 65% accurate that's far better than 0% and even if you are in the group that gets sick despite a vaccine, your illness will be milder and shorter. Why get sick if you don't have to?

Do it for others
Even if you're as healthy as a horse and never get sick, do it for those you come in contact with who are less healthy, very young or very old. Do it for them if you're too stubborn to do it for yourself. Why be a carrier? Getting a flu shot is simply good citizenship.

The flu shot won't make you sick
This might be my biggest pet peeve at this time of year. Otherwise intelligent people will tell you they don't want to get the flu shot because it puts the virus in your body. A flu shot is made with dead virus cells and cannot and will not make you sick. It's an impossibility. Dead virus cells are dead. Period.

Do yourself and others a favour this year and get your flu shot. It will even reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke...

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Lou Reed, Dead at 71

In MemoriumLou Reed was 71. His band the Velvet Underground became one of the most influential in rock by fusing art and music in collaboration with artist Andy Warhol in 1960s New York.

Seven years ago I wrote about my late discovery of Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground when I heard "Perfect Day" on the Trainspotting soundtrack in 1996. "Perfect Day" by Lou Reed and "Heroin" by the Velvet Underground remain staples of my MP3 playlists. He will be missed.

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Canadian Flag Made Out of Real Maple Leafs and Snow

Canadian Flag Made Out of Real Maple Leafs and SnowWhenever I'm away, immersed in another culture, I always come home and look at things a little differently. I must say, we live in a pretty great country.


[via Reddit]

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Marcia Wallace, Dead at 70

In MemoriumMarcia Wallace was 70. She was the actress best known for her roles as receptionist Carol Kester on The Bob Newhart Show and the voice of Edna Krabappel on The Simpsons.

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Open Mike

Open MikeHey Toronto, It's yet another Open Mike!

Feel free to use this space to vent, rant, share a story and/or ask a question of the hivemind.


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I Don't Dig Zombies

I Don't Dig ZombiesI know people who are infatuated with the undead. Specifically, zombies.

They watch zombie television shows like The Walking Dead, enjoy zombie movies like World War Z and generally consume anything zombie-related. They just dig the genre.

I do not dig the genre. In fact, I find zombie shows and films boring. I just don't dig zombies.


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Bad Medicine: Bon Jovi to Get Banner in ACC

Bad Medicine: Bon Jovi to Get Banner in ACCMLSE is going to honour Bon Jovi with a permanent banner inside the ACC. Until now, the only banners you'd find hanging from the rafters honour sports teams and players who have called the venue home. Stanley Cup banners, retired and honoured players and the like.

These teams and players represented the city of Toronto in sport. Adding a banner for a popular band lessens these accomplishments. Bands perform shows, like a circus or ice capades, and Bon Jovi has no ties to this city except for the fact they sell a lot of tickets here.

And that's where the optics get fuzzy. Is Bon Jovi being honoured for making MLSE a lot of money? And as Pension Plan Puppets points out, what's President and CEO Tim Leiweke's role in all of this? He was previously CEO of the Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), which represented Bon Jovi in the past. Is Tim Leiweke helping to promote a former client here?

As Mr. Horse would say on Ren and Stimpy, no sir... I don't like it. And I'd feel the same way if it was The Tragically Hip being honoured instead of Bon Jovi.

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20 Years Ago Today

20 Years Ago Today Joe Carter touched them allA lifelong sports fan and homer, this remains my greatest sports memory, 20 years later.

I wrote about Joe's 1993 World Series clinching home run on the 10th anniversary of his blast. I referred to it as "a moment of collective elation" and feared it will never happen again. I'll bet it doesn't.

Where were you when Joe touched 'em all?

Another World

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Your Blog Sucks: Episode 8

Your Blog Sucks: Episode 8In this 8th episode of Your Blog Sucks, elvis and I discuss things that suck. There's cursing, an exciting announcement, European tidbits, lacy pink underwear, cancer and much, much more. This episode is exactly 31:33.

You can listen to this episode in a variety of ways:

Catch up on all episodes of Your Blog Sucks at https://www.torontomike.com/your_blog_sucks_podcast/.

Your Blog Sucks Logo

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Reykjavík, Iceland Pictures

Reykjavík, Iceland PicturesMy final stop of my recent vacation was Reykjavík, Iceland. The original plan was to experience the geothermal pools but my wife's OB/GYN advised her against it, so we took a day to walk the city and watch the locals instead.

Reykjavík is charming, and reminded me of a Canadian town with Scandinavian architecture. There wasn't a whole lot to see compared to Italy, but it was a great visit to this volcanic beauty on the southern shore of the Faxaflói Bay.



This is the Harpa concert hall in Reykjavik


This is the biggest thing in Reykjavik. It's called the Hallgrimskirkja.


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Back in Toronto Open Mike

Open MikeHey Toronto, I'm back!

Feel free to use this space to vent, rant, share a story and/or ask a question of the hivemind.


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10 Tips For Those Travelling to Italy

10 Tips For Those Travelling to ItalyItaly is an wonderful country to visit. I'm in Iceland now, but I miss Italy. While it's all still fresh in my mind, here are ten tips for those traveling to Italy.

Airplane Mode is Your Friend
When I board the plane at Toronto's Pearson airport, I put my phone on airplane mode and leave it there until I return. While abroad, airplane mode is your best friend and will ensure you don't get any unhappy surprises from your telecom vendor. Most accommodations will include wifi as will many restaurants / bars in Italy.

Airbnb for Accommodations
We didn't stay in a single hotel or motel during our stay in Italy. Instead, we scouted and booked rooms via airbnb.com with great success. Be sure to read the reviews and book a room in the heart of the city within walking distance of the main attractions.

TripAdvisor Offline City Guides
For every city we visited, excluding Cinque Terre, we downloaded an "Offline City Guide" app from TripAdvisor. This app, available for both iOS and Android, will not require a data connection and will help you scout and locate the best attractions, restaurants and gelaterias (see below!). They're awesome.

Always Leave Room for Gelato
I had gelato every day I spent in Italy, except for my time in Cinque Terre. You'll learn the best gelaterias from the aforementioned TripAdvisor app and you'll find amazing flavours available for €1-€2. Some gelaterias will even let you combine two flavours. Never order dessert in a restaurant, always walk to a nearby recommended gelateria instead.

Beware the Service Charge
Many restaurants will charge a service charge per person. This is typically €2-€2.50. This is in lieu of tipping. All the food in Italy is amazing, by the way, but you already know that! This pizza fan is still smiling...

Crosswalks are Suicide
Rome in particular is full of dangerous drivers and motorcyclists. They don't signal, they drive fast and they ignore crosswalks. If you treat the crosswalks in Rome as you do crosswalks in Canada and wait for cars to stop, you'll be waiting forever. Wait for a chasm and run before you get run over. Good luck!

Beware the Euro Sharks
In the touristy parts of the big Italian cities you'll find many people with one agenda: to suck Euros from your wallet. They'll do this in a variety of ways: by giving your girl a "free" rose or silk, by "helping" you and then demanding payment or even by posing for you in a gladiator outfit. If you're naive you'll think they're being kind to tourists. They just want your money.

You Don't Need to Know Italian
In the places I visited (Rome, Venice, Florence, Cinque Terre and Milan) you can get by perfectly fine without a stitch of Italian, but it 's fun to try. My most used Italian words were: grazie, buongiorno, ciao, si, prego and scusi.

Italy is Safe
In my experience, Italy was very safe. I walked the big cities both day and night and never felt unsafe, but it's wise to remember pickpocketers thrive in busy tourist areas. Be aware of that unfortunate fact and don't give your safety a second thought.

It's Okay to Get Lost
You'll have your TripAdvisor app and a good old fashioned paper map, but you'll still get lost, and that's okay. We got lost so many times in the beautiful labyrinth that is Venice but it all becomes part of the experience. Be prepared for long walks because your mapped out 12km route could easily become 15-20km by the time your day is done.


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Cinque Terre: The Most Beautiful Place I've Ever Been

Cinque Terre: The Most Beautiful Place I've Ever BeenI've been visiting Cinque Terre, five villages along the Italian Riviera that seem almost untouched by modernization. They are:

  • Monterosso al Mare
  • Vernazza
  • Corniglia
  • Manarola
  • Riomaggiore

We stayed in Riomaggiore and took the train into Corniglia where we walked the Sentiero Azzurro path through Vernazza and Riomaggiore. The path between Riomaggiore and Manarola and Manarola and Corniglia is currently closed due to flooding.

I've seen some beautiful places in my lifetime, as recently as last month when I visited Banff, but I've never seen any place as stunningly gorgeous as Cinque Terre, and walking the path was just awesome.

Today I visited the most beautiful place in the world #cinqueterre

Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre

Photos don't do it justice, but if you want to see a bunch, I've got them all here.

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General Strike Open Mike

Open MikeHere in Italy the transportation unions are on a general strike for the day making it rather fun trying to get from Florence to Cinque Terre. Riomaggiore or bust!

Feel free to use this space to vent, rant, share a story and/or ask a question of the hivemind.


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Nice Knockers in Florence

Sightseeing in Florence: Le mie fotoWalking around Florence, there are some great knockers. I snapped a few pictures of these amazing door knockers to give you a taste.










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Photos of Florence

Sightseeing in Florence: Le mie fotoJust like Rome and Venice, Florence is gorgeous and full of amazing food. Here are a few pictures I've taken.








I'm keeping every photo I take in Florence in this handy Flickr photoset.

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Photos of Venice

Sightseeing in Rome: Le mie fotoVenice is like a crazy beautiful labyrinth. I can't tell you how many times we got lost today. But damn, is it pretty.








I'm keeping every photo I take in Venice in this handy Flickr photoset.

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Ides of October Open Mike

Open MikeI hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving!

Feel free to use this space to vent, rant, share a story and/or ask a question of the hivemind.


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More Photos of Rome

Sightseeing in Rome: Le mie fotoToday I hit up some more Rome landmarks and visited the sovereign city-state of Vatican City. Remember when you'd visit your aunt and she'd make you sit down and watch a slideshow presentation of the pictures she took in Rome? This is like that only you can scroll down really fast or skip this entry altogether.

Here are some more photos of Rome to complement the pictures I took yesterday.







That last pic is of Largo di Torre Argentina where the assassination of Julius Caesar took place on the Ides of March in 44 BC. Today it's a no-kill shelter for homeless cats and we saw many.

Over 100 slides from Uncle Mike's visit to Rome can be found here.

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Andrew Brode: Gone Far Too Soon

Andrew Brode: Gone Far Too SoonWhen Andrew Brode was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia two months after his 30th Birthday, I followed his battle on his blog. I worked with Andrew's father Uwe for years. Uwe's a great guy, the kind of guy who would drop everything to help you out, and his son was cut from the same cloth.

In February of 2012, I invited Andrew to write a guest blog entry about OneMatch.ca. At the time, Andrew was in remission. Here's what he wrote:

My name is Andrew Brode, and I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia 2 months after my 30th Birthday, in June of 2011. What a roller coaster ride of emotions it's been, too. Within 2 weeks of finding out that I had a 60% chance of survival, I was getting some of the strongest chemotherapy treatments currently used. I was in hospital for a month (induction), followed by 2 separate rounds of chemo as an outpatient (consolidation). Thankfully, by November I was one of the lucky few who went into remission.

What I didn't know going in, is that common protocol for leukemia patients (along with many other types of cancer and other diseases) is a bone marrow transplant. This is where they take the bone marrow of a healthy person, and via a procedure similar to a blood transfusion, they inject those healthy cells into your body. This basically means the recipient (me) is getting a new immune system. The procedure has it's risks, but often it will completely CURE the recipient of his/her cancer.

Now, onto the not so good news. Currently, there are 18 million people worldwide (and counting) on the national bone marrow registry. I don't have 1 single perfect match, which I may require at some point in the future. If I receive a perfect match, my Doctor suggests that I go through with the procedure, but, because I don't, that isn't an option right now.

The Canadian Registry can be found at www.onematch.ca, and the registration/donation process is completely simplified compared to what the common perception is of this type of donation. Essentially, to get onto the registry you Register on the website, and they'll in return send you a swab kit. You take the kit they send you, swab your cheeks, and mail it back. That's it. Once you've been added to the system, if you ever get called, the donation process is as simple as donating blood. The days of getting drilled into your hip and put out for surgery are long over.

The Canadian Registry has just over 300,000 people on it, compared to a national population of 25+ million. There are more than 10 times the amount of Facebook users in Canada as there are on the National Registry.

Please visit www.onematch.ca today, and make a difference. You can be the one match that saves someone's life.

I'm sitting in a rented flat in Rome right now where I just received an email from Uwe that Andrew passed away earlier today due to multiple lung infections caused by his weakened immune system following his stem cell transplant. Andrew was only 32-years old. It's truly heartbreaking....

andrew brode

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Sightseeing in Rome: Le mie foto

Sightseeing in Rome: Le mie fotoRome reminds me of Paris in that there's something photo-worthy at every turn. It's also warm and sunny, as I remember Paris, and nothing like the cool rainy days in Amsterdam.

Here are some photos I took yesterday.











We're walking to Vatican City today. I hear Pope Frankie make a great pizza.

If you'd like to see all of my photos from Rome, they're here in this handy Flickr photoset.

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Yet More Amsterdam Photos

Sightseeing in AmsterdamThis will be my last entry from Amsterdam as I'm off to Rome for the next week. Here are a few photos taken earlier today.






If you'd like to see more of my photos from Amsterdam, they're here.

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TorontobrugI just learned Toronto is Amsterdam's twin city. I had no idea...

There's little in Amsterdam to commemorate this bond, but I did walk across the Torontobrug earlier today. The Torontobrug (Bridge No. 350) is a link across the Amstel river between Amsteldijk and Weesperzijde. It has this plaque that references David Crombie, our mayor in 1974.


Fun fact: Toronto has a bridge called the Amsterdam Bridge with a similar plaque. The Amsterdam Bridge is a cable footbridge that crosses over the Simcoe Street Slip from York Quay to Rees Street Slip.

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North Holland Open Mike

Open MikeTalk to me!

Feel free to use this space to vent, rant, share a story and/or ask a question of the hivemind.


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My Least Favourite Thing About Europe Is...

My Least Favourite Thing About Europe Is...I love walking big European cities. The architecture is always beautiful and there's never a shortage of things to see and do. Drop me down in Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam or Dublin and let me walk!

There is one negative thing about walking big European cities. It's often very difficult to find a free public washroom. The picture I took below is an example of a public washroom in Amsterdam. They wanted a Euro to enter.


In Toronto, we take free public washrooms for granted. Paid toilets are everywhere in Europe and they're shitty...

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Keep Me Posted Open Mike

Open MikeKeep me posted on what's happening in Canada....

Feel free to use this space to vent, rant, share a story and/or ask a question of the hivemind.


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Daily Photo: Canal Boat

picturesVisiting Amsterdam for the third time in 15 months, it's all so familiar. I took a stroll to the Anne Frank House today and this red and green canal boat was directly across the canal.


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Coming This April...

Baby #3

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Miss Toronto 1937, Billie Hallam


[via Reddit]

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Leave It To Open Mike

Open MikeOn this date in 1957, Leave It To Beaver premiered on CBS.

Feel free to use this space to vent, rant, share a story and/or ask a question of the hivemind.


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Your Blog Sucks: Episode 7

Your Blog Sucks: Episode 7In this 7th episode of Your Blog Sucks, elvis and I discuss things that suck. There's jizz, Singapore booze, tea ceremony slights, elvis's passionate hatred for David Clarkson and much, much more. This episode is exactly 28:35.

You can listen to this episode in a variety of ways:

Catch up on all episodes of Your Blog Sucks at https://www.torontomike.com/your_blog_sucks_podcast/.

Your Blog Sucks Logo

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Tom Clancy, Dead at 66

In MemoriumTom Clancy was 66. He was the author best known for his technically detailed espionage and military science storylines that are set during and in the aftermath of the Cold War. The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger, and The Sum of All Fears all become successful films.

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 53

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 53In this 53rd episode, Mike and Rosie chat about her top-secret work with TIFF, her imminent move to an iPhone and her newfound addiction to B-12. This episode is exactly 32:43.

You can listen to this episode in a variety of ways:

Catch up on all episodes of Toronto Mike'd at https://www.torontomike.com/podcast/.

Toronto Mike'd Podcast

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Go Leafs Go in 2013 / 2014!

Go Leafs Go in 2013 / 2014!

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Memorial for Sue Trainor Updated

Memorial for Sue Trainor UpdatedOn September 20, I wrote about the memorial for the unknown cyclist who had been struck by a car and killed on Lake Shore and Dwight Ave. By the time I awoke the next morning, my entry had comments from her sister and friend telling me how wonderful a person Sue Trainor was.

I revisited the memorial for Sue Trainor outside the Lake Shore McDonald's in New Toronto and it's quite different now. In addition to new flowers there's now a white bicycle acting as a monument to Sue.




A letter affixed to the pole reads:

Stop talking about what u think happened + read what did. The lady was run over by a driver who ran a red light. She was T boned by a driver who was talking to his passenger + not looking where he was driving. He will not be charged for anything. Rip Sue.

- Ronald


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1st Leafs Game Open Mike

Open MikeI'm predicting a 3-2 Leafs win tonight.

Feel free to use this space to vent, rant, share a story and/or ask a question of the hivemind.


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We Have a Gumergency

Yes, there's an Excel Gumergency hotline. 1-855-EXCEL-IT.

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