Christmas Songs I Enjoy

christmas musicIt's December, and that means you'll likely need to assemble a Christmas party playlist for a holiday party or two.

A great deal of Christmas music is awful, but there are a few dozen or so I can stomach. Here are my personal favourite Christmas songs if you need a little help building your playlist. To make things extra fun, I'm going to mark my top 7 by making them bold.

  • Christmas Don't Be Late - Alvin and the Chipmunks
  • Christmas Must Be Tonight - The Band
  • Do They Know It's Christmas? - Band Aid
  • Green Christmas - Barenaked Ladies
  • White Christmas - Bing Crosby
  • Mary Had A Baby - Bruce Cockburn
  • Santa Claus Is Coming To Town - Bruce Springsteen
  • Merry Christmas Baby - Chuck Berry
  • Joy To The World - Clem Snide
  • Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - Coldplay
  • First Noel - Crash Test Dummies
  • Little Drummer Boy - David Bowie and Bing Crosby
  • Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! - Dean Martin
  • Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) - Death Cab For Cutie
  • Blue Christmas - Elvis Presley
  • I Believe in Father Christmas - Greg Lake
  • Santa Claus Go Straight To The Ghetto - James Brown
  • Happy Xmas (War Is Over) - John & Yoko And Plastic Ono Band And The Harlem Community Choir
  • Honky The Christmas Goose - Johnny Bower
  • I Wish It Was Christmas Today - Julian Casablancas
  • Father Christmas - The Kinks
  • Christmas Night in Harlem - Louis Armstrong & His All Stars
  • Carol Of The Bells - Trans-Siberian Orchestra
  • The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas To You) - Nat King Cole
  • Merry Christmas, Baby - Otis Redding
  • Let Me Sleep - Pearl Jam
  • Fairytale of New York - The Pogues with Kirsty MacColl
  • 2000 Miles - The Pretenders
  • Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight Tonight) - The Ramones
  • The Christmas Song - The Raveonettes
  • Baby, It's Cold Outside - Ray Charles
  • Christmas in Hollis - Run DMC
  • Song For A Winter's Night - Sarah McLachlan
  • What Christmas Means To Me - Stevie Wonder
  • You're A Mean One, Mr Grinch - Thurl Ravenscroft
  • O Holy Night - Tipitina's Foundation
  • Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis - Tom Waits
  • Baby Please Come Home - U2
  • Christmas Time Is Here (Instrumental) - Vince Guaraldi Trio
  • Greensleeves - Vince Guaraldi Trio
  • Christmas Wrapping - The Waitresses
  • Welcome Christmas - The Who's of Whoville

If you're interested in hearing about the worst Christmas song ever, there's more on that here.

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25 Stellar Rain Songs for a Rainy Saturday in Toronto

25 Stellar Rain Songs for a Rainy Saturday in TorontoIt's been raining cats and dogs all morning in Toronto and it doesn't look like it's going to let up for hours yet. That was the perfect excuse for me to assemble a brilliant 25 song "rain" playlist. Every song had to have "rain" in the title.

I didn't include songs with "rainy" or "raincoat" or "raindrops", just "rain. If I'm missing a "Rain" song you think just has to be there, let me know in the comments.

  • Only Happy When it Rains - Garbage
  • Purple Rain - Prince
  • Have You Ever Seen the Rain? - Creedence Clearwater Revival
  • Rain-O - Chilliwack
  • Who'll Stop the Rain? - Creedence Clearwater Revival
  • Red Rain - Peter Gabriel
  • Rain - The Cult
  • Rain Street - The Pogues
  • The Naked Rain - The Waltons
  • November Rain - Guns N' Roses
  • Why Does it Always Rain On Me? - Travis
  • No Rain - Blind Melon
  • I Wish It Would Rain Down - Phil Collins
  • Sad Sad Rain - Platinum Blonde
  • Set Fire to the Rain - Adele
  • Here Comes the Rain Again - Eurythmics
  • Fire and Rain - James Taylor
  • Rain When I Die - Alice in Chains
  • Rain - The Beatles
  • Lay Down (Candles in the Rain) - Melanie
  • Make it Rain - The KLF
  • Come Rain or Come Shine - Frank Sinatra
  • Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain - Willie Nelson
  • Early Morning Rain - Gordon Lightfoot
  • Rusted From the Rain - Billy Talent

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10 Songs With Mother in the Title

Happy Mothers DayHappy Mother's Day to my mom and all the mothers out there.

Here's a list of ten songs with mother in the title. They're all great songs, even if a few of them aren't exactly on message with today's celebration.

  • Mother and Child Reunion - Paul Simon
  • Good Mother - Jann Arden
  • Does Your Mother Know - ABBA
  • Mother - Danzig
  • Mother Mother - Tracy Bonham
  • Mother Popcorn, Part 1 - James Brown
  • Mother's Little Helper - Rolling Stones
  • No Sugar Tonight / New Mother Nature - Guess Who
  • Tie Your Mother Down - Queen
  • Mother - John Lennon

Drop other "mother" songs in the comments!

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5 Things I've Learned From Podcasting

5 Things I've Learned From PodcastingI've been podcasting since August, and during that time I've learned a few things.

1. Mics Matter
If you're building a home studio, don't cheap out on the microphones. The most important part of the puzzle is the mics and they're not cheap. I bought three RØDE Procasters and that alone set me back about a grand.

2. Chemistry is Key
Whether you're recording with a co-host, a guest or both, good chemistry is more than half the battle. When you click, interesting content will spill out naturally. Record with people you dig.

3. All the Pieces Matter
There are several components of a good podcast: hardware, software, content, hosting and xml. Dive in and touch all five and you'll be much better off long-term. If a part or two scares you, that's more reason to get your hands dirty and fully understand how it all fits together to create a proper podcast.

4. Measure With Perspective
Measure everything, including downloads of your MP3 file, but never lose perspective. The numbers will reveal a great deal, but don't let them dictate content or detract from quality without appreciating the complete picture. The numbers only tell a small part of the story.

5. Project and Get On That Mic
With my RØDE Procasters, for example, you need to speak directly into the front of the microphone. 10 cm to either side and you'll have a levelling issue. Practice projecting and getting right on that mic and make sure your co-host and guests are aware of the difference and have a chance to practice before you press record.

With the right equipment, the right chemistry and the right projection, you'll sound great. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments and I promise to reply.

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10 Highest Grossing Films: I've Seen 50%

moneyI just learned that I have never seen half of the ten highest-grossing films of all-time.

Here are the top ten and whether I've seen it or not.

  1. Avatar - seen it
  2. Titanic - seen it
  3. The Avengers - seen it
  4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 - have not seen it
  5. Transformers: Dark of the Moon - have not seen it
  6. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - have not seen it
  7. Skyfall - have not seen it
  8. The Dark Knight Rises - seen it
  9. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest - have not seen it
  10. Toy Story 3 - seen it

I suspect most people will have seen more than 50%, but I have no idea. How many of these top ten have you seen?

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My 10 Favourite Movies of All-Time

MoviesBecause Argie asked for it, here's an update to an entry I wrote over seven years ago.

Here are my 10 favourite movies of all-time:

  1. Pulp Fiction
  2. Goodfellas
  3. The Godfather: Part 2
  4. Django Unchained
  5. The Shawshank Redemption
  6. The Godfather: Part 1
  7. Reservoir Dogs
  8. Kill Bill - Volumes 1&2
  9. Fight Club
  10. Big Fish

What does your top ten look like?

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5 of My Favourite Things

5 of My Favourite ThingsFor no particular reason, and in no particular order, here are five of my favourite things these days. And no, these things aren't better than my kids or my lady friend or my family or anything like that, these are just five things I thoroughly enjoy.

The New Digg

This isn't the old Digg that got stomped by Reddit, this is the new Digg. The front page of Digg is now loaded with super interesting articles. I subscribe to the RSS feed for the front page of the new Digg and it adds interesting reading to each and every day.

CBC Radio

Terrestrial radio really does suck these days, with one exception. The programming on CBC Radio One, for the most part, is awesome. It's typically smart, interesting, balanced and entertaining. It's far and away the best radio I get in my '99 Mazda.

60 Minutes

I've been watching 60 Minutes for decades, and it's still great. If you haven't tuned in in a while, you might want to revisit this staple of Sunday night television.

Larry David

I laugh out loud at everything Larry David touches. From Seinfeld to Curb Your Enthusiasm and beyond, he tickles my funny bone.

Live Sports

I found a stream of the end of last night's Heat ~ Bulls game, because I wanted to see if the streak would end. It did. I can't wait to watch the Leafs game with the kids tonight as we strive toward our first playoff appearance in my daughter's lifetime. I also can't wait to see if Florida Gulf Coast can win again, if Tiger can win the Masters and how Iggy does with the Pens. I absolutely love live sports.

What are your favourite things?

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My Six Favourite Toronto Albums

cdA list of the top 50 Toronto albums is making the rounds, so I thought I'd chime in with my six favourite Toronto albums.

With apologies to the Rheostatics, Rush and Blue Rodeo, these are my top six.

Everything I Long ForHayden - Everything I Long For

Favourite Tracks:
"Bad As They Seem"
"In September"

Love JunkThe Pursuit of Happiness - Love Junk

Favourite Tracks:
"I'm an Adult Now"
"She's So Young"
"Hard to Laugh"

Shakespeare My ButtThe Lowest of the Low - Shakespeare My Butt

Favourite Tracks:
"Henry Needs a New Pair of Shoes"
"Eternal Fatalist"
"Bleed a Little While Tonight"

YelowtapeBarenaked Ladies - The Yellow Tape

Favourite Tracks:
"Brian Wilson"
"If I Had $1000000"
"Be My Yoko Ono"

Symphony in EffectMaestro Fresh-Wes - Symphony in Effect

Favourite Tracks:
"Let Your Backbone Slide"
"Drop the Needle"
"Tear it Up"

FlukeRusty - Fluke

Favourite Tracks:
"Groovy Dead"
"Wake Me"

And Neil Young's Live at Massey Hall 1971 isn't on this list because although he spent his formative years in Toronto and recorded this masterpiece in Toronto, I'm having difficulty swallowing it as a Toronto album. And yes, some of you hate rap and will ridicule me for including the Maestro on this list. Go ahead, I have thick skin.

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10 Celebrity Deaths of Significance in 2012

  1. Adam "MCA" Yauch
  2. Sam Sniderman
  3. Neil Armstrong
  4. Jim Unger
  5. Levon Helm
  6. Mike Wallace
  7. Gary Carter
  8. Etta James
  9. Maurice Sendak
  10. Andy Griffith

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The First 20: Toronto Mike'd Episodes Waiting to be Heard

Toronto Mike'd Podcast EpisodesRosie and I have recorded 20 episodes of our podcast, Toronto Mike'd. We're taking a little break while we change things up on this side of the coin, but we'd love for you to catch up if you've missed any of our first 20.

That first episode, I wasn't manning the sound board or the mixing board or even sure how I was going to drive the content. By episode 20, we were doing it all ourselves and it was as natural as our private conversations.

We hope you like what you've heard so far and will return for the next exciting chapter of Toronto Mike'd. Here are the first 20:

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