Lists


My Ten Favourite TV Shows of 2007

tvTelevision got jealous of music after I posted my ten favourite songs of 2007 and demanded fair treatment. I didn't want any trouble and caved immediately.

Here are my ten favourite television shows in 2007. These are shows that aired new episodes during the 2007 calendar year, so shows like "Arrested Development" I revisited in DVD were ineligible.

10. Rescue Me

I watched this show for years until a series of weak episodes caused me to bail. Then, I caught a good episode and came back for the season finale which I thoroughly enjoyed. It was pretty much guaranteed to make this list because I only watched about 12 series all year.

9. Family Guy

Can I lump "Family Guy" in with "American Dad"? This show is good for shits and giggles, and that's not a bad thing.

8. Dexter

Season two of "Dexter" was pretty interesting. I don't know how long this series will go before it gets repetitive, but I hope it has at least two more seasons in it.

7. 30 Rock

I didn't watch a minute of this show during its first season and then I caught a rerun during the summer. I liked what I saw and came back for more. Now I'm a big fan.

6. The Simpsons

Me and the kids appointment view this show every Sunday night. I've been doing that for a couple of decades. You knew this was going to show up on this list somewhere.

5. The Office

"The Office" is my favourite network series. It's plain fun. I still can't believe the Yanks took a brilliant BBC show and made it better.

4. This American Life

There were only six episodes of this documentary series but each one touched me in a profound way. There is no series on television as thought provoking and interesting as this one.

3. Flight of the Conchords

Pure hilarity. It's not only completely hilarious, but the music is great too. Bonus!

2. The Sopranos

Fuggedaboutit. Tony: RIP.

1. Curb Your Enthusiasm

There was something about the dynamic of this season that slayed me. Larry and the Blacks was a perfect blend and Leon stole the show. Get in that ass, Larry!

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My Ten Favourite Songs of 2007

musicOh 2007, where have you gone? It seems like only a year ago you showed up, all fresh and new. Now, it's time to say goodbye.

It wasn't easy trying to come up with my ten favourite songs from 2007. I had "Nature of the Experiment" from Tokyo Police Club on here before I realized it was released in 2006. Same for "Lazy Eye" from Silversun Pickups. Then, I had a couple of Arcade Fire tunes on here before I started making cuts. It turns out I like Neon Bible better as an album than a collection of singles.

Here's my 10 favourite songs of 2007 complete with videos so you can hear the great tunes you missed this year.

10. "Flathead" by The Fratellis

9. "1234" by Feist

8. "Young Folks" by Peter Bjorn & John

7. "The Last Fight" by Velvet Revolver

6. "The Pretender" by Foo Fighters

5. "Empty Walls" by Serj Tankian

4. "Backed Out On The..." by Kevin Drew

3. "Is There A Ghost" by Band of Horses

2. "Take Me To The Riot" by Stars

1. "Icky Thump" by The White Stripes

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Lordy, Lordy, It's My Christmas Top Forty

christmas musicI've got a little thing for lists. I'll throw anything in a list. Top ten movies with a geographic location in the title, best songs written by a Canadian citizen while living in England, greatest top ten lists ever, you get the idea.

This is prime time for hanging with friends and family, so you really shouldn't be reading this. Turn off the computer, will ya? In case you are taking a few minutes out of your Christmas Eve to check things out @ torontomike.com, here are my forty favourite Christmas songs. Happy Christmas Eve, everyone.

  1. Fairytale of New York - The Pogues with Kirsty MacColl
  2. White Christmas - Bing Crosby
  3. Linus and Lucy - Vince Guaraldi Trio
  4. 2000 Miles - The Pretenders
  5. Baby It's Cold Outside - Ray Charles with Betty Carter
  6. Peace On Earth & Little Drummer Boy - David Bowie & Bing Crosby
  7. O Tannenbaum - Vince Guaraldi Trio
  8. Happy Xmas (War Is Over) - John Lennon & Yoko and the Plastic Ono Band With The Harlem Community Choir
  9. Christmas Time Is Here - Vince Guaraldi Trio
  10. The First Noel - Crash Test Dummies
  11. Santa Claus Is Coming to Town - Bruce Springsteen
  12. The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas To You) - Nat King Cole
  13. Do They Know It's Christmas - Band Aid
  14. Christmas Don't Be Late - Alvin and the Chipmunks
  15. Jingle Bells - Barenaked Ladies
  16. You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch - Thurl Ravenscroft
  17. O Holy Night - John McDermott
  18. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - Coldplay
  19. Christmas Night In Harlem - Louis Armstrong
  20. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! - Dean Martin
  21. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen / We Three Kings - Barenaked Ladies with Sarah McLachlan
  22. I'll Be Home For Christmas - Bing Crosby
  23. Let Me Sleep - Pearl Jam
  24. Christmas at the Zoo - The Flaming Lips
  25. Green Christmas - Barenaked Ladies
  26. Zat You Santa Claus? - Louis Armstrong
  27. Merry Christmas, Baby - Otis Redding
  28. Song For A Winter's Night - Sarah McLachlan
  29. Mary Had A Baby - Bruce Cockburn
  30. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) - U2
  31. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing - Vince Guaraldi Trio
  32. Welcome Christmas - The Whos of Whoville
  33. Christmas Time Will Soon Be Over - Jack White
  34. Ave Maria - Sarah Brightman
  35. That Was The Worst Christmas Ever! - Sufjan Stevens
  36. We Three Kings - Reverend Horton Heat
  37. Blue Christmas - Elvis Presley
  38. Twelve Days of Christmas - Bob & Doug McKenzie
  39. Blue Xmas (To Whom It May Concern) - Drunken Boat
  40. Thank God It's Christmas - Queen

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Songs for a Snowy Day: The Best Snow Songs

Snow SongsI just scanned my collection for songs with "snow" in the title. Here are the best of the bunch.

Note the dominance of Canadian artists. This list is 50% CanCon. We write about what we know.

  1. Fifteen Feet of Pure White Snow - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
  2. What The Snowman Learned About Love - Stars
  3. Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow! - Dean Martin
  4. Snowsuit Sound - Sloan
  5. 20 Years of Snow - Regina Spektor
  6. Snowed In - Joel Plaskett Emergency
  7. Snowblind Friend - Steppenwolf
  8. Snowmobile Song - Stompin' Tom Conners
  9. By-Tor and the Snow Dog - Rush
  10. Snowbird - Anne Murray
  11. Footprints in the Snow - Mac Wiseman
  12. On a Snowy Christmas Night - Elvis Presley
  13. Snow (Hey Oh) - Red Hot Chili Peppers
  14. Snowmen - Barenaked Ladies
  15. Snow White Queen - Evanescence
  16. Snowblind - Black Sabbath

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In Praise of the Long Song

cdI discovered this Rolling Stone list after Fameone linked to it. It's the 50 best songs over 7 minutes long, and it's got me thinking...

What are my favourite songs over nine minutes in length? Here are my top ten.

  • In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida - Iron Butterfly (17:02)
  • The End - The Doors (11:44)
  • Xanadu - Rush (11:07)
  • Cowgirl In The Sand - Neil Young (10:08)
  • Freebird - Lynyrd Skynyrd (10:08)
  • All I Want Is You - U2 (9:52)
  • Born Slippy - Underworld (9:45)
  • Down By The River - Neil Young (9:20)
  • Jesus Of Suburbia - Green Day (9:08)
  • Tainted Love - Soft Cell (9:01)

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More Cowbell

musicI watched Christopher Walken demand more cowbell in an SNL skit over on Humble's blog and it got me thinking about songs that feature a cowbell.

Here are my ten favourite songs with cowbell. I need more cowbell!

  1. Rage Against The Machine - Killing In The Name
  2. Guns N' Roses - Mr. Brownstone
  3. Beastie Boys - Hey Ladies
  4. AC~DC - You Shook Me (All Night Long)
  5. Radiohead - Creep
  6. Queens of the Stone Age - Little Sister
  7. Mountain - Mississippi Queen
  8. War - Low Rider
  9. Tone Loc - Funky Cold Medina
  10. Chambers Brothers - Time Has Come

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Parade Songs

musicWe're all set for tomorrow's Santa Claus parade. As mentioned, this will be my fourth year in a row attending the world's largest Santa Claus parade, and I'll bring my camera to try and snap each float as it rolls by.

Here are my entries and photosets from the last three parades.

Here are "parade" songs found in my collection.

  • The Street Parade - The Clash
  • The Soft Parade - The Doors
  • Macy's Day Parade - Green Day
  • Hit Parade of Love - Jimmy Martin
  • Parade - Luscious Jackson
  • Bulls on Parade - Rage Against the Machine
  • Soft Parade - The Watchmen

Toronto Santa Clause Parade 2004

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Most Used Film Lines

moviesAccording to some British survey, here are the top ten lines from a film most commonly used in everyday conversation.

  1. "I'll be back." ("The Terminator")
  2. "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." ("Gone With The Wind")
  3. "Beam me up, Scotty." ("Star Trek")
  4. "May the force be with you." ("Star Wars")
  5. "Life is like a box of chocolates." ("Forrest Gump")
  6. "You talking to me?" ("Taxi Driver")
  7. "Show me the money." ("Jerry Maguire")
  8. "Do you feel lucky, punk?" ("Dirty Harry")
  9. "Here's looking at you, kid." ("Casablanca")
  10. "Nobody puts Baby in the corner." ("Dirty Dancing")

Interestingly enough, "Beam me up, Scotty" and "Do you feel lucky, punk?" are mis-quotes.

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The 10 Most Terrifyingly Inspirational '80s Songs

musicCracked.com has published a list that's right up my alley. They call it The 10 Most Terrifyingly Inspirational '80s Songs and here it is.

  1. "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor
  2. "You’re the Best" by Joe Esposito
  3. "Danger Zone" by Kenny Loggins
  4. "Jukebox Hero" by Foreigner
  5. "Don’t Stop Believing" by Journey
  6. "Holding Out for a Hero" by Bonnie Tyler
  7. "Love is a Battlefield" by Pat Benatar
  8. "Another One Bites the Dust" by Queen
  9. "Wanted (Dead or Alive)" by Bon Jovi
  10. "The Final Countdown" by Europe

I think it's a very strong list. It's very hard to argue against that top three, in fact, check out this Friday Five I did back in 2005. It's pretty similar, only I actually put "You're the Best" ahead of "Eye of the Tiger", but that's just me.

Where the hell is Mark Safan's "Win in the End? Now, that was inspirational.

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Hockey Songs: The Best Music About Our Game

Greatest Hockey SongsThere is nothing more Canadian than hockey. It's a little past noon on a beautiful Saturday afternoon and I'm already thinking about Hockey Night in Canada tonight as my Leafs take on the Rangers. Hockey is life and pretty sweet.

Alison, who refers to herself as a stranger-friend because she drops by daily, wrote me to ask if I had ever posted a hockey playlist. She was looking for songs that would pump up a young hockey team in the dressing room, but my mind instantly turned to songs about our national game. I started thinking about hockey songs and decided to post the top ten hockey songs.

Here are the best ten hockey songs, in no particular order, and with apologies to Hayden because the amazing "Skates" isn't about hockey.

Hockey - Jane Siberry - Before she changed her name to Issa, Torontonian Jane Siberry was best known around these parts for "Mimi on the Beach", but my favourite Jane Siberry track is "Hockey" from her 1989 album Bound By the Beauty. Check out these pretty lyrics.

They rioted in the streets of Montreal when they benched Rocket Richard,
And that is true bona fide Canadian history, that's what really counts
That's what we're all about

Don't let those Sunday afternoons
Get away get away get away get away
Break away break away break away break away

You use your rubber boots for goal-posts
And you're so proud of that, cause they're your boots that they're usin'

Have a listen here and if you're not touched by the beauty you didn't grow up around here.

The Hockey Song - Stompin' Tom Connors - This song is simple, but has rightfully become a national anthem of sorts. Of all of Stompin' Tom's songs, this is the one we'll still be singing nightly in fifty years. I know you know the lyrics, but here's a taste anyway.

Where players dash with skates aflash the home team trails behind
But they grab the puck and go bursting up and they're down across the line
They storm the crease like bumble bees they travel like a burning flame
We see them slide the puck inside - it's a 1-1 hockey game!

I was lucky enough to see Connors perform "The Hockey Song" live when I saw Conan O'Brien back in 2004. Here's awesome footage of Connors doing it up with some great vintage footage of our game.

Hockey Night In Canada Theme - The Shuffle Demons - Speaking of unofficial Canadian national anthems, the opening theme for Hockey Night In Canada is right up there. It was written in 1968 by Dolores Claman and it only takes one note to prepare for puck droppage in Pavlov's dog-style. I threw The Shuffle Demons' cover on this list because it's chock full of bop rap goodness. Note to self: share "Spadina Bus" this weekend.

The Ballad of Wendel Clark, Parts I and II - Rheostatics - I recently wrote about this song as the video contains glimpses of the now defunct Old Mill Donuts on Dundas Street West. It's a great hockey song with a Toronto slant and mandatory listening for those of us who suffered through the 1980s Norris division follies. Check out the lyrics.

Well I heard Wendel talking to Dave Hodge last night
he said that he was confident and keen
he said that Jacques Plante didn't die
so all of us could glide
he said that hard work is the ethic of the free.

And here's that video I mentioned with classic Etobicokery.

50 Mission Cap - The Tragically Hip - The Hip's classic homage to my favourite legend, Bill Barilko, needs no introduction. It's everything that's great about this country rolled into one inspiring package. Here's the lyrics.

Bill Barilko disappeared that summer
He was on a fishing trip
The last goal he ever scored won the Leafs the cup
They didn't win another until 1962 the year he was discovered
I stole this from a hockey card I keep tucked up under
My fifty mission cap I worked it in to look like that

Here are the Hip playing "50 Mission Cap" back in '93 on The Another Roadside Attraction Tour.

Hockey Skates - Kathleen Edwards - This song isn't really about hockey, but it's called "Hockey Skates" and it's really good, so I'm throwing it on this list. I fell upon it while listening to the Men With Brooms soundtrack and it instantly captured my fancy. Here's a taste of the lyrics.

Going down in the same old town down the same street to the same bar
And the same old people saying hi and I don't care
Going down in the same old bar and I don't even order anymore
I am so sick of consequence and the look on your face
I am tired of playing defense
I don't even have hockey skates

While looking for Kathleen singing "Hockey Skates" I found another song of hers opening Hockey Night in Canada. This seems appropriate for this entry.

Gretzky Rocks - The Pursuit of Happiness - I remember the video for this song getting airplay on MuchMusic. It was well after Love Junk, and not TPOH at their best, but Gretzky does in fact rock and that needed to be said in song. Here's how it starts...

Walter Gretzky had a son,
he grew up to be the great one
He came from Brantford, Ontario;
he liked Gordie Howe you know.

Americans don't understand,
the national sport of the northland
The worlds best game they're always dissin'
but they don't know what they are missin'

Unfortunately, I can only see this video in my mind because there's no trace of it online. Moe Berg was in the penalty box for a while, I believe.

Hit Somebody! (The Hockey Song) - Warren Zevon - 2002's My Ride's Here is the second last album of Warren Zevon's career and the cover shows him sitting in a hearse. For this album, he recorded "Hit Somebody! (The Hockey Song)". Mitch Albom, a sports columnist for the Detroit Free Press, helped write the tune while David Letterman chipped in by yelling "Hit Somebody!"

There were Swedes to the left of him
Russians to the right
A Czech at the blue line looking for a fight
Brains over brawn--that might work for you
But what's a Canadian farm boy to do?
What else can a farm boy from Canada do?
But what's a Canadian farm boy to do?
What else can a farm boy from Canada do?

Hit somebody! was what the crowd roared
When Buddy the goon came over the boards
"Coach," he'd say, "I wanna score goals"
The coach said, "Buddy, remember your role,
The fast guys get paid, they shoot, and they score
Protect them, Buddy, that's what you're here for.

The Zamboni Song - Gear Daddies - This song is probably best known from MasterCard commercials and from The Mighty Ducks soundtracks. It's pretty popular at arenas throughout this country and the kids dig it. It's safe to say this is the only Gear Daddies song you'll ever hear.

Now ever since I was young it's been my dream
That I might drive a Zamboni machine
I'd get the ice just as slick as could be
And all the kids would look up to me

Here's the song from this Austin, Minnesota band.

The Lonely End of the Rink - The Tragically Hip - I couldn't resist putting a second Tragically Hip song on this list. They litter hockey references all over the place and I could easily justify including "Fireworks" because of the references to The Summit Series and Bobby Orr. "The Lonely End of the Rink" is drenched in a romantic hockey sentiment we can all relate to. It's explained briliantly by Gord Downie in the clip below.

At the lonely end of the rink, you and me
At the lonely end of the rink, you and me
Oh to join the rush
As the season builds

I hear your voice 'cross a frozen lake
a voice from the end of a leaf
saying, 'you won't die of a thousand fakes
or be beaten by the sweetest of dekes'

This song opened the first Hockey Night in Canada telecast last year and it was perfect. Enjoy the unofficial video for another great hockey song.

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