February 2017 Archives

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Brian Boyle a Leaf, P. J. Tucker a Raptor

I've been busy. I've failed to document not one but two significant trades involving Toronto teams.

Yesterday the Leafs sent minor-leaguer Byron Froese and a conditional second round pick in 2017 to Tampa for fourth-line centre Brian Boyle. The only reason you make this deal is to make the playoffs this season. It seems the tear-down is officially over.


Depending on the day, I can be passionately want the Leafs to miss the playoffs and land another top ten pick or make the playoffs and give me some fun April nights with the family. It seems the Shanaplan now calls for option #2. Giddy-up!

The Raptors, meanwhile, have won four in a row after a rough stretch. All four games have been comebacks from double-digit deficits and thrilling finishes. The defensive intensity late in games has been amped up with the addition of Serge Ibaka and now P.J. Tucker.

While I was busy, the Raptors sent Jared Sullinger and two second-round draft picks to Phoenix for the former Toronto draftee. We're going to need him if we're going to take a series against the Cavs.


We're all hoping we don't meet the Cavs until the conference final, but Kyle Lowry's surgery makes that unlikely. But if a finals berth goes through Cleveland, it might be better to catch them early. Here's hopin'.

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I Prefer My Sports Shallow

I've always loved sports. My first love was the Toronto Blue Jays when I discovered them during the summer of '83. Tom Cheek and Jerry Howarth were my guides and I listened as often as possible.

I discovered the Toronto Maple Leafs shortly thereafter, mesmerized by Rick Vaive's scoring touch. My sports diet primarily consisted of baseball and hockey until I started diversifying in the late 80s. Then I was enamoured by Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls and Jim Kelly's Buffalo Bills. Throw in some tennis, Indy cars, NCAA basketball and Argos and I've been a sports fan ever since.

As I age, I've realized the deeper the dive the less fun it all is for me. I love to watch the Leafs, enjoying our talented rookies, but I don't really care for the new analytics. I appreciate that possession stats are important, but I prefer to stay a step behind. Entertain me, and just win, baby.

With baseball, I enjoy the stats I grew up with. Batting average, HRs, stolen bases, walks, ERA, strikeouts, saves.... Data is important, but I can only absorb so much before it detracts from my enjoyment of the games. When sports stop being fun to follow, it's time to abandon ship. This is precisely what happened to me and football.

I don't know if this makes me less of a sports fan, but I definitely prefer my sports shallow. Today we have instant access to hyper analysis of every minutia. I'm glad it exists, but I'm going to pass.

Go Leafs go.

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Bill Paxton, Dead at 61

Bill PaxtonBill Paxton was 61. He was the actor who appeared in such films as The Terminator, Weird Science, Aliens, Predator 2, True Lies, Apollo 13, Twister, and Titanic.

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 221: Kevin Frankish

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 221In this 221st episode, Mike chats with Breakfast Television co-host Kevin Frankish about his years on CKVR and CityTV and what it was like working with Ann Rohmer, Liza Fromer and Dina Pugliese. There's also a frank discussion about Jennifer Valentyne, CP24 Breakfast and the target on his back. This episode is exactly 1:15:58.

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Money Management in Casino Gambling

The word “gasino” seems to be a misprint; however, it is a recently invented description of a casino located close to a station on a highway. Gambling on the road has a special atmosphere. Very often people want to try out new things when they are away from their daily routine. Having a rest between driving a long way is a good opportunity for slots with free spins or scratch-cards and lotteries. The situation one finds themselves in is slightly different from gambling on holiday or at the home-town. Therefore, there are some things about efficient money management in on-the-road gambling you have to consider.

Tank before you gamble
There are some adventurous people who gamble to see if they tank with the money they win. That is not a very good idea if you have an unlucky day. And you never know if you are lucky. So you should rather tank full before you gamble. If you need to buy water and snacks for the long way, do it before you gamble as well.

Do not gamble with a credit card
It is much more difficult to control the expenses with a card rather than with cash. If you don´t have much cash, withdraw it and decide how much you can afford to lose in case you do not win. After that, keep some cash and forget that you have it. Forget that you have a credit card as well. This time you have to be much more careful than when you play in your home city. You still have a way to drive and you might need money on your way.

Control your excitation
Gambling on the road is much more adventurous. It is more exciting. It may bring you a lot of fun and you will remember those moments even if you do not win anything. However, do not cross the line of your budget limit. Otherwise, it may lead to disappointment and bad conscience afterwards. If you feel you are about to lose the connection with the reality, grab your cell phone and call someone you talk to every day – a family member or a close friend. A short chat will return you to consciousness. Another option is checking your mailbox or scrolling through the news on a social network – something that you do in your everyday life.

Casino gambling is a new exciting trend for those who have to drive over long distances. It can be a fun way to entertain yourself during a work trip or during a vacation. However, it is important to remember some rules concerning money management when gambling in casinos.

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Open Mike

Welcome to this week's Open Mike. I'm Mike and I'll be your master of ceremonies for the day.

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

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Today's Media Changes...

In my very basement you learned about Mike Richards' new independent venture and Greg Brady's return to mornings on The Fan 590, but there was other news today.

At 102.1 the Edge, my station throughout the 90s, they shuffled the deck. The new morning show is going to be called Edge Mornings with Melani & Adam. That's Melani Mariani and Adam Ricard, in case you didn't know. You can learn everything you wanted to know about Adam but were afraid to ask right here.

Fearless Fred, my old buddy, moves to 2pm-6pm where he will be followed by grizzled veteran Alan Cross. You can hear Alan take a phone call during episode 66 of Toronto Mike'd.

Oh, and they changed their logo. At this moment, this is their logo.


On Monday, this will be their logo.

new edge logo

The big sports media news today is that FS1 cancelled Fox Sports Live and will not renew the contracts of Jay Onrait and Dan O’Toole when they’re up in March. Will Jay and Dan come home to TSN?

What do you think of the 102.1 the Edge changes? Would you like to see Jay and Dan return to Canada's airwaves?


Update: TSN has announced that Jay and Dan are returning home to TSN.

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 220: Greg Brady

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 220In this 220th episode, Mike chats with The Fan 590 morning show host Greg Brady about being bumped from mornings for Dean Blundell, losing his job and coming all the way back with Elliott Price and Hugh Burrill. This episode is exactly 1:29:44.

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Preserving the Blockbuster Quick Drop

I regularly walk past a building that was once a Blockbuster video store. Most recently it was a dollar store and is now being converted into a gym, but I know it was once a Blockbuster because it still has a Quick Drop slot.


With it currently being gutted and remodelled as a gym, my fear is they'll get rid of the Quick Drop slot. It's far too young to be considered historical, so every day I walk by to see if it survived the day.

Today I saw they had built a new wooden box on the inside, a sure sign the Quick Drop slot is here to stay.



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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 219: Mike Richards

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 219In this 219th episode, Mike chats with sports broadcaster Mike Richards about what happened at TSN Radio 1050 and what exactly Raw Mike Richards will be. This episode is exactly 1:16:32.

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George "The Animal" Steele, Dead at 79

George George "The Animal" Steele was 79. He was a popular wrestler in the WWF who would act like a wild man in the ring, tearing up the turnbuckle with his teeth and using the stuffing as a weapon as well as sticking out his green tongue.

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Open Mike

Welcome to this week's Open Mike. I'm Mike and I'll be your master of ceremonies for the day.

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

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 218: Craig "Lobster Boy" Venn

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 218In this 218th episode, Mike chats with Craig Venn about his years at CFNY, being Lobster Boy on the John Derringer show and hosting the morning show at 94.9 The Rock. This episode is exactly 1:36:12.

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Stuart McLean, Dead at 68

Stuart McLeanStuart McLean was 68. He was the host of CBC Radio's The Vinyl Café and an award-winning humorist. How many times did I stumble upon one of Stuart's Dave and Morley stories? Often enough to develop a pretty good Stuart McLean impression, a cadence I'd often mimic when sharing my own stories.


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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 217: Maureen Holloway

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 217In this 217th episode, Mike chats with CHFI morning show host Maureen Holloway about her years at 99.9, working with John Derringer at Q107 and taking over for Erin Davis on 98.1. This episode is exactly 1:06:56.

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Maple Leafs Forever

The Maple Leafs Forever is brilliant. Now that Tim Thompson has updated the montage to include Auston and the kids, it's even better.

If you're interested in long form discussions about this Leafs montage, I spoke with both Tim Thompson and singer Ron Hawkins about it in great detail.

Ron Hawkins

Tim Thompson

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Raptors Trade Terrence Ross and a First for Serge Ibaka

Terrence Ross was infuriating, but I have such a soft spot for the guy. When my buddy was battling cancer, I managed to score two sweet seats from Ford Canada to see the Raptors take on the Clippers. My buddy was a huge Raptors fan and I wanted to help boost his spirits.

Alas, my friend wasn't feeling up to attending the game, but when I tried to return the tickets to Ford, they suggested I take my daughter. So that's exactly what I did. That night, Terrence Ross went off for 51 points, tying the franchise mark set by Vince Carter in 2000. As luck would have it, I was at that game, too!

When you take your daughter to a game and a member of your team scores 51, you adopt the guy as yours. Every time Ross threw down a big dunk, and the man could dunk, we'd exchange knowing glances.

Now T-Ross and a first round pick has been shipped to Orlando for power forward Serge Ibaka. Masai Ujiri's wanted Ibaka for a while now, and for good reason. Ibaka fills a need the Raps have and inconsistent Ross was a small price to pay.

Good luck, Terrence. We'll always have that 51.

My poor daughter now thinks all basketball games are this exciting #raptors

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Jennifer Valentyne joins Derringer in the Morning on Q107

Jennifer Valentyne worked at City TV almost her entire working life until they let her go last April Fool's Day. Rogers Media's loss was Corus Entertainment's gain and she quickly caught on as host of The Bachelorette Canada’s live After Show on the W network. Throw in a few Global morning show appearances and she was a versatile cog in the Corus wheel.

She'll now be co-hosting Q107's Derringer in the Morning with John Derringer. This announcement, of course, came on Valentine's Day. That's either cute or corny, depending on your disposition.

What do you think of this addition to the Q morning show?

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Oscar Category Fraud

Every year I tell myself the Oscars are nothing more than an irrelevant circle jerk, but every year I try and see every film nominated for best picture and end up watching the Academy Awards regardless. It's harmless silly fun, afterall.

I watched Fences last night and was blown away by the performance by Viola Davis. At one point I told my wife I'd boycott the Oscars if she didn't win for best actress. Then, following the movie, I went online and learned she's not even nominated for best actress. She submitted herself for best supporting actress.


This is a strategic ploy to guarantee Viola Davis an Oscar. Many refer to it as "category fraud". That's an accurate term for it, in my opinion.

Why the actress herself gets to pick her category is rather puzzling. Viola Davis's part in Fences is most definitely not a supporting one, and she actually won for best actress at the Tony's for the exact same role. There ought to be some metric by which supporting actress is measured, such as % of spoken dialogue in a movie or % of time on screen. The decision should not lie with the actress actor or studio.

Again, in the realm of things, this means very little, but it does taint the deserved award somewhat. Its akin to stretching a double into a single in order to hit for the cycle.


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Open Mike

Welcome to this week's Open Mike. I'm Mike and I'll be your master of ceremonies for the day.

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

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 216: Kevin Shea

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 216In this 216th episode, Mike chats with Kevin Shea about his years working with "Weird Al" Yankovic and Motley Crue, selling Smells Like Teen Spirit to radio and the legend of Bill Barilko in glorious blue and white detail. This episode is exactly 1:18:17.

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Dean Blundell Out at The Fan 590, Greg Brady Back In

The Dean Blundell era at The Fan 590 is over after two years. Starting February 27, Greg Brady is back doing mornings at his old station. You may recall he and Andrew Walker were bumped from mornings to afternoons to make room for Blundell. Brady was subsequently let go in February.

Joining Brady is Elliott Price and Hugh Burrill. Burrill was caught up in Rogers Media cuts last March. Price was most recently at CFMB in Montreal.

Here's episode 76 of Toronto Mike'd with Greg Brady, if you missed it the first time.

I will share my thoughts on this change, but I must preface it by making two things very, very clear. Firstly, I have no personal issue with Dean Blundell. In fact, I invited him over to record an episode of Toronto Mike'd because I thought it was only fair to hear his side of things after recording episodes with Todd Shapiro, Jason Barr, Blind Derek Welsman, Billie Holiday and Dani Stover. Dean politely declined the invitation.

Furthermore, I haven't actually heard Dean Blundell's morning show on 590. I've received plenty of feedback, and read a great deal about it, but without a commute I don't listen to any morning radio except some Metro Morning in the shower.

I can tell you I thought this move was curious from the start. It seemed The Fan 590 wanted a slice of Blundell's big 102.1 ratings, but they sold it as a kinder, gentler Blundell. The likelihood his 102.1 listeners would follow him to an AM all-sports station where he was "reprogrammed" was slim.

I knew they'd give him a long look, however, and wouldn't make any quick decisions to cancel the show. Two years sounds about right. This decision was likely made in the spring when he was under a 7 share and the Raptors made the conference final, the Blue, Jays were defending AL East champs and the Leafs won the draft lottery.

As for Greg Brady, we've become rather friendly since he visited my home in 2014. I've called him for advice when I was cycling in the Ride to Conquer Cancer and we've kept in touch. As often happens when I record with guests, I've come to quite like the guy and I'm glad he's getting another shot. In essence, like Rogers did with Ron MacLean, a wrong has been righted. Brady never should have lost the morning show to Blundell in the first place.

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Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign

A decision should be announced today with regards to the fate of the beloved Honest Ed's sign. Honest Ed's is no more with the 1.8-hectare location on Bloor and Bathurst Streets soon to be repurposed. Demolition is scheduled for May.

I once wrote it's not the buildings we love, it's the signs. The iconic CHUM sign was saved, the Sam the Record Man sign was saved and now there are many wanting to save the Honest Ed's sign.

I can see both sides of this argument. On the one hand, the sign only dates back to the 1980s, so it's not really that old. And it is just a giant cheesy sign for a private discount store. I know that's sacrilegious, but it's true.

Snowing. Walking by Honest Eds

But then again, it's the Honest Ed's sign, an iconic sign closely identified with this city. Why destroy it if it could be preserved somewhere for fellow nostalgists to gawk and smile?

Does the sign turn to rubble with the building or should it be saved?


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Amazing Run of Championships

I watched yesterday's Super Bowl in its entirety and it eerily reflected the recent US presidential election. It appeared as if the good guys would win easy until a historical reversal awarded the crown to the other guys. At one point in the third quarter I considered bailing on the game because I didn't think there was a chance of New England coming back.

I'm glad I stuck with it, because it was the greatest Super Bowl comeback ever and the first time the game went to overtime. I still can't believe what I saw. What a game!

It got me thinking of how amazing championship games have been lately. With the exception of the Stanley Cup final, won by Pittsburgh in six games, it's been one epic game after another.

2016 MLS Cup
Admittedly, I was only watching because TFC was in the final, but it couldn't have been closer. Seattle won in penalty kicks.

2016 Grey Cup
It was the only CFL game I watched in 2016 and it was a dandy. Again, decided in overtime, with a thrilling comeback by Calgary who ended up losing to Ottawa.

2016 World Series
One for the ages, with the Cubs coming back from a 3-1 game deficit to win game seven in extra innings. I'm still blown away by this game seven.

2016 NBA Championship
Another one for the ages, with LeBron James carrying the Cavs to victory late in game seven. The Cavs were down 3 games to 1 to the Warriors before the magic happened. I'm still blown away by this game seven.

If you're keeping score, we have epic conclusions to the last Super Bowl, Grey Cup, World Series and NBA Championship. Even if you have no horses in these races, it's been a constant reminder of why sports fans love sports.

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How to Choose the Right VPN Service?

The VPN service is a way to remain anonymous in the global network and to have access to the restricted resources on the web. Looking for that, nothing is to compare with VPN for the time being. There are various VPN services, available on the Internet. Some of them are free of charge, others are offered at different prices.

When choosing VPN Canada can offer, one should think carefully. To make the right choice of the VPN service, you should determine the goals why you need to be anonymous on the net and why you are looking for the IP-address change. A standard set of functions, offered by service providers, normally includes:

1. Anonymizer or Proxy Server
It is used for disguising the real IP, replacing it with another one. Most VPN services allow the user to change the IP address on the run, without any reconnection. In addition, there is a list of address upon countries to choose at the user’s request.

2. VPN Chains
This option greatly complicates the determination of the real user’s IP-address, because requests pass through multiple VPN servers. The VPN chain is a chain of multiple VPN servers through which the traffic passes from the user to the specific Internet resource. The scheme looks like this: User -- VPN Server – Internet Resources. The main advantage of VPN chains is the ability to preserve anonymity. For instance, a user from Canada connects to a server in China and visit a site in Canada. Judging by logs of Internet providers, it will be visible that somebody from China entered the website in Canada. Providers in China are able to determine who switched on to their VPN server from Canada. But if there one more link in this chain, suppose, in Hong Kong, the determination of the Canadian user will be very difficult.
Double VPN chain means a chain of two VPN servers, triple chain has three VPNs, and quadruple has four. To present the double VPN, the user is connected over an encrypted connection to the VPN server and the server connects via the secure VPN to the server in its turn, and that one goes online. This way the rate of information security through several connections greatly increases.

3. VPN + TOR
TOR networks with VPN connections can be applied to increase the rate of anonymity. The TOR network gives the client a high anonymity and VPN servers protect data in transit. TOR and VPN can be used together in the following scheme: Client --VPN Server – TOR -- Internet. The use this connection hides the presence of TOR from ISP.

4. Mixing of Ordinary Clients’ Requests with TOR traffic
The developers of TOR browser routing ensured the maximum anonymity for users. This is almost impossible to identify them in this case.

When Anonymity is Important
When the anonymity of the users is above all, it is recommended to select items 2, 3 or 4. The option 4 allows subscribers to access the closed domain zones with TOR browser surfing only. Probably, some people is familiar with hacking into social networks or payment systems. The reason for this is simple. The hackers replace the DNS name of the desired service and redirect the user to the fake site with an almost identical interface. After entering login and password, the system failures fictitiously, and the user is redirected to another portal. DNSSEC, described in p.5, prevents this situation by checking the conformity of the IP-address and the domain name.

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Following Homer's Lead

I've written extensively about how much I loved The Simpsons. I've probably seen every episode from the first six seasons 20-30 times each by now. I watched them when they first aired, on VHS, in syndication, on DVD, streamed from the web, with my kids and by myself.

This weekend, the kids and I revisited season five. That's a tremendous season, possibly the best of all. It includes Homer Goes to College, which includes this shot of Homer's cinder block bookshelf.


I first watched Homer Goes to College on ‎October 14, 1993. A couple of years later, when I was living off campus at Charles Street and Yonge, I followed Homer's lead and built a similar bookshelf. Below is a photo of the only photo I have of this bookcase that served me well in university.


I've still got that Pulp Fiction poster hanging in my basement.

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Exploring UK Gambling Laws in 2017


Gambling in the United Kingdom is the sphere that’s got quite a part of a community engaged in this nation-scale activity. With the increasing number of online casinos featuring free play slots no download the government of UK has started to pay a raised attention to the matter of their licensing. Thus, after the adoption of the Gambling Act 2005 the British Gambling Commission was formed to replace the Gaming Board of Great Britain and regulate the casinos’ and bookmakers’ operation. In 2013 this establishment merged with the National Lottery Commission to become the main gambling regulatory authority in the UK.

The statutes regulating both games of chance and games of skills
In what refers to the gambling products, e.g. casinos, slot machines, bingo, lotteries and bookmaking, the GA 2005 is the only applicable statute so far. However, there’s still one exception – the National Lottery Act 1993. Despite the fact the regulators have merged, the legislations regarding these two types of gambling activity differ to some extent. And there’s also a tax legislation, which is applied to gambling services on the basis of the Betting, Gaming and Duties Act 1981, undergoing systematic amendments.

The GA 2005 statute is also assigned to determine whether a game involves more skill or is predominantly influenced by chance. The test results are used to figure out which article/paragraph of gambling legislation this or that game is subjected to. As to social games and free lotteries, they aren’t influenced by the act.
The law restrictions placed upon licensee

In Great Britain, there are no restrictions regarding who can apply for a gambling licensing. Yet, those who’ve managed to obtain a license for casino/bookmaker operation are, expectedly, forced to comply with the current regulations. And there are strict restrictions a licensee must observe:

  1. The bingo and land-based casino license holders can’t provide credit
  2. If a person under age of 18 places a wager, that wager must be returned
  3. Bookmakers and pool betting operators are prohibited from offering bets on the National Lottery
  4. There are limits on the number and type of the available slot machines depending on a casino size
  5. The number of Regional casinos is limited to one in number, while large and small – to eight each
  6. Betting advertisements are allowed to be broadcast only when the sports event is taking place
  7. None except for GA 2005 granted casinos are allowed to offer bingo

These are some of the primary regulations the casinos and bookmaker facilities must observe in order to operate on the UK territory on a permanent basis. There are surely lots of others, as the book of law is known to be thick. However, adding them to the article would be unacceptable for a number of reasons and thus, we’ve picked the most relevant ones to unveil the principles of UK gambling legislation.

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Open Mike

Welcome to this week's Open Mike. I'm Mike and I'll be your master of ceremonies for the day.

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

Open Mike on Toronto Mike

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 215: Bob Callahan

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 215In this 215th episode, Mike chats with radio deejay Bob Callahan about his years on 680 CFTR and Mix 99.9 and.... well... every Toronto station you can name and why he left it all to become a detective with the Toronto Police Service. This episode is exactly 1:05:12.

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

Bob Callahan and me

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I've Never Seen Top Gun

Is there a pop culture marker you completely missed? For example, are you in your 40s but have never seen Star Wars?

Against all odds, I have somehow never seen Top Gun. I'm willing to bet very few movie-watching guys in this country who are my age can make the same claim. It wasn't intentional, it just ended up this way.

Top Gun was released in May 1986 when I was 11 years old. At 11, I may have been slightly too young to catch the movie in theatres. How I never caught it on VHS is rather puzzling. I rented a lot of movies in the late 80s.


Then there comes a point where you avoid the movie on television, because if you're going to see Top Gun, you don't want any editing or ads. But for one reason or another, you're never compelling to seek it out. I've never had that moment where I thought "I need to see Top Gun so I understand all the references that have been flying about for thirty years".

My buddy Elvis drops a Top Gun reference as part of his daily lexicon. I know it's from Top Gun, but I sure don't know Top Gun.

Is there a pop culture phenomenon that somehow eluded you? And at this point, are you afraid to admit it?

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