Open Mike

Published by Toronto Mike on December 7, 2012 @ 09:00 in Open Mike

Open MikeAnything goes in this Open Mike except NHL lockout talk. I don't want to hear it.

But surely you have other topics you'd like to discuss, questions you'd like to add or observations you'd like to share. Do it up!

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Comments 85 comments

85 Responses to "Open Mike"

Lorne
December 7, 2012 / 09:05

I predicted 257 +/-20 comments in the Rob Ford thread. There were only 111. I guess I owe you a beer.

Argie
December 7, 2012 / 09:10

OK, must think - what is pissing me off today??? There's got to be something.....

Oh I know, its unions. Especially unions for effing teachers or other government employees. If you work in a coal mine I can understand why you might need a union but there's no need for anyone else. I can't wait for the day to come when governments and school boards aren't forced to have union employees.

Many if not most teachers are fed up with the unions anyway. They pay union dues, can face fines of up to $500 a day for not walking out on their job and every few years, there's always a possibility of a strike . If I walked out on my job I would be fired - the education minister should do the same and fire any teacher who walks out.

Lorne
December 7, 2012 / 09:18

@Argie: Normally I argue and counter with things like logic, facts and reality-- but today I think it's just suffice to say: You're a moron.

Alvin
December 7, 2012 / 09:43

Also on the teacher thing: I have no problem with 1 day strike action. Go for it. It's the absence of the extra after school programs and even during school programs that ticks me off. And the fact that every radio station just ignores this much larger story/impact to children is even more annoying.

dizi izle
December 7, 2012 / 09:48

I just read about a 1 metre tsunami. Isn't that just a wave?

Alex
December 7, 2012 / 09:53

Ya know, we complain about our political leaders, because Rob Ford is a buffoon and Dalton McGuinty is a liar and Stephen Harper is a robot, but we could be in Egypt.

In Egypt the people are rising up against President Mohammed Morsi, a democratically elected leader who now has absolute power.

Our systems protect us from this. No matter how ridiculous and stubborn Rob Ford is, he only has so much power.

McNulty
December 7, 2012 / 09:56

Sigh.

Three comments in and it is name calling. What a great way to debate points. Always productive.

Unions have a purpose outside of the coal mine, however, they are typically run by heads that want everything and concede nothing in the name of helping its members.

The purpose of the union is to protect workers from BS like laying off a bunch of people only to rehire the same roles with cheaper people. Stuff like that happens.
The unions today do some protection but they've become so anti-management that they betray their own cause.
It becomes about not going in rather than what is best for the company or government.

Argie isn't totally wrong. Unions can really screw up the system.

Argie
December 7, 2012 / 10:03

Lorne,

I made my points and your only response is an insult. It would be so easy for me to insult you back but clearly you're not worth it.

If you insult me again, I'll be happy to fire back.

Geoff
December 7, 2012 / 10:17

That went downhill fast.

St3ve
December 7, 2012 / 10:18

Can't we all just get along?

Derrick
December 7, 2012 / 10:23

Okay Argie, how many teachers have you spoken to or know who are fed up with unions?

And why do you need a union in a coal mine and not as a teacher or other government employee?

Toronto Mike
December 7, 2012 / 10:27

To all those Googling 'Did Todd Shapiro get fired' or 'where's Todd Shapiro' let me assure you Todd Shapiro from the Dean Blundell Show on CFNY / Edge 102 is on vacation this week and will be back next week. He hasn't been fired.

Carry on....

Argie
December 7, 2012 / 10:48

Derrick,

If you happy paying through the nose in taxes (perhaps you don't pay that much in taxes), then support these major crime organizations know as labour unions.

You really can't see the difference between sitting in an heated or a/c office versus working in a coal mine??? OK.

Derrick
December 7, 2012 / 11:04

Argie,

You didn't answer my questions.

In your first post you noted that "Many, if not most teachers are fed up with unions anyways". I assume you know a lot of teachers and therefore can make that statement based on the fact you polled a large number of your teacher friends or associates and they conveyed to you their dissatisfaction with unions. However before I agree or disagree with your statement I would like to know how many or what % of the teacher population in Ontario you talked to to support your first statement. Your first post was presented as fact so I would like you to present your evidence to support your facts.

Now you are claiming (again as fact) that labour unions are major crime organizations. That is a strong accusation. What evidence do you have to support that fact? Or is that an opinion?

I do see the difference between a comfortable office and a coal mine, but what does that difference have to do with the need for labour to organize itself and collectively bargain with management? Are you saying that the coal mine job is more stressful and therefore requires a labour union? I assume that you have performed both jobs and can therefore speak to different stress factors involved.

Cheryl
December 7, 2012 / 11:05

I got more junk mail from Rogers yesterday. Won't they ever learn. I get something from Rogers or Bell every week. That does not fail. I am not with either one of them, but they keep sending me stuff. I am not interested so stop sending me so much junk mail. Also Grocery Gateway had a couple items out of stock. They go and send me stuff I don't want. I told the driver to take the items I don't want back so he did, but he had to look for them in all the boxes. Well, curling tomorrow. It's zone playdowns. My trainer's team will win.

Derrick
December 7, 2012 / 11:12

Cheryl,

Put a "No Junk Mail Please" sign on your door. That should get rid of the Roger's/Bell problem.

Gary
December 7, 2012 / 11:14

Union once had a place but now they are just bullies.

Lorne
December 7, 2012 / 11:26

@Derrick: Thanks for taking up the reins on this one. Good luck. I've had enough arguing with trolls for the week.

Argie
December 7, 2012 / 11:38

Derrick,

Obviously the percentage of teachers I spoke with is tiny. I do know a recent vote by the membership showed around 50% voted in favour of the walk outs.

You have so many questions and no opinions. This is a blog, where one can state their opinion. You can either agree with me or not. If you don't agree, that's fine, just give me your point of view. I'm sure you can come up with something more original like the word "troll" as your friend Lorne did.

Tim
December 7, 2012 / 12:01

I work at a school. I am not a teacher but I do have empathy for them. The issue is the government taking away their rights to collective bargaining. If the government took away your rights at work you would be unhappy as well. Teachers are aware of the situation and are not asking for more money or to bank their sick days. They are just asking for the right to control their own destinies.

Mississauga Phil
December 7, 2012 / 12:03

@ Derrick & Lorne - A troll will be a troll.

That being said, I do agree with the heart of Argie's point, and that is that unions have outlived their usfulness. All they do now is make the rich richer.

Teachers want raises in the middle of a recession, people in the real world are taking pay cuts, or losing their jobs entirely....

But this point ca be made without resorting to insults.

Derrick
December 7, 2012 / 12:06

A 50% vote doesn't mean that teachers are fed up with unions. It means that the decision to walk out on kids is a tough one, especially by the teachers.

My opinion? I agree (in most respects) with Gary's opinion in that Union's did have a place but now they can be bullies. Unions exist to represent the workers, but in many instances they end up hurting that which provides their existence - the employer. GM, Ford and Chrysler are great examples.

I take issue with your one post "If you happy paying through the nose in taxes (perhaps you don't pay that much in taxes), then support these major crime organizations know as labour unions."

No one is happy in paying a lot of taxes. How can I or anyone debate that point? And it doesn't even support or further your argument. It doesn't make any sense.

You also lump all unions as "major crime organizations" as though that fact is self-evident. Well, it's not a self-evident fact. It's a stereotype. No one can debate or argue against a stereotype.

This is a blog where one can question your opinion. If you throw our an opinion, be prepared for it to be questioned.

Blind Dave
December 7, 2012 / 12:10

My wife works in the school system, and though she is not a teacher, she is unionized and she doesn't like it. I don't have exact data to go on, but from the stories I've heard, the ratio of union or anti-union sentiment isn't any different than in any other profession. There are the doves and the hawks regardless. Many of these teachers care very much about their students, but they are bound by their union and they are under a gag order to not offer a public opinion. I doubt many people enter a certain profession simply because it's unionized.

There was a time when unions had their place, and no doubt even today certain employers need to be kept in check, but the power and politics (and that's all it is) of today's unions render their purpose pretty much useless.

Lorne
December 7, 2012 / 12:57

@MissPhil: "Teachers want raises in the middle of a recession, people in the real world are taking pay cuts, or losing their jobs entirely...."

You're going to make me drag facts into this again, aren't you? No, this isn't the issue. In fact, the very first thing that was offered to the government during bargaining was to freeze wages. The government rejected that proposal and pushed Bill 115 through instead.

In fact, under the government's own proposal, teachers still get their pay raise. Except on day 197, instead of day 1. So what was the point? So the government can say "look at how much money we saved, we're making sure those greedy teachers don't rob you, the poor taxpayer, blind". On paper it looks great, because they get to effectively draw up budgets and expenditures based on last year's numbers. On paper.

Time and time again, while attempting to bargain, this one point has been brought up: "We see and recognize you have to save money. Just tell us how much money you need to save, and we will save it for you. In fact, here's a whole list of suggestions."

Example: benefits. The government pays for part of it. The union said "Let us pay for it. It'll work out better for everyone. Smaller contribution by teachers. Money saved by government because they don't have to pay for or manage it. And insurance companies will be giving us great deals to get all 200k members on board."

In all cases, the offers were summarily rejected, to the point where the government walked out of negotiations.

So no, this is not about, nor has it ever been about, money. Or salary-- so please, stop repeating the lie over and over. It's about worker's rights, and a government ignoring the law and making power grabs.

Argie
December 7, 2012 / 13:22

Lorne,

Spoken like a true union head. How was your free lunch today? I know, the same as every other day....

You may be right about this dispute - maybe the teachers are in the right. The things is people are sick and tired of unions. Teachers and govt workers have been treated extremely well at the expense of taxpayers. Unlike in the real world, unreliable workers are paid well, sick days are abused not to mention the banking of sick days for many and the health and benefit packages are way beyond what a private sector employee would have.

4X4 Time
December 7, 2012 / 13:41

Who has a take on the “Financial Cliff” issue the US is facing, and what dangers will it pose to us Canadians?

If I had to gamble on this I would say they will posture until nearly the end like the week of Christmas and then reach a deal that will once again put off until later (much later) any hard choices. They will raise some taxes, eliminate a few deductions that affect the wealthy, and maybe "Promise" to reduce some spending further down the road.

The Obama administration seems to be playing a very firm hand and not interested in compromising at all. They think they have a mandate and there are many who say going over the cliff is actually good for the democrats. The US will have more debt, more taxes, a bigger government and more people dependent on it for their survival.

It’s a shame for the US economy because it is being reported there is a lot of cash sitting on corporate balance sheets but won't commit until something is finalized. Ultimately there is a huge deficit and it needs to filled. On the brighter side I am bullish on the US (at least compared to the EU zone) long term. Housing slowly coming back, lending is improving, and corporate balance sheets are strong.

519 Rob
December 7, 2012 / 13:42

Well Argie, you have at least one friend in this argument.

I don't agree with everything he's said, and how he's said some of it, but I think Argie is right.

The teachers union has way too much power.
Besides, they got in bed with the government (aka, the devil) and now don't like the results. Jeez, who saw THAT coming.
The gov't has bent over for the teachers for years, and now when the teachers don't like what they get told, they raise shit.
Maybe this is not a big enough sample here to get a true feeling, but I BELIEVE (opinion here...) that most people are sick of how the teachers union is operating.

I had a debate with a few teachers a while ago. One gave me shit for saying they got a paid summer off. One gave me shit for saying that they got an un-paid summer, but a great pay check for 10months a year.

How the hell did I lose BOTH sides of that argument.

There are lots of people working extra hours for less money.
It won't hurt the teachers to see this for once a generation.

Mississauga Phil
December 7, 2012 / 14:04

@ Lorne - Please don't confuse me for Argie, I am more than happy to have an intellegant debate about this.

That being said, I have friends and family who are teachers and it is astounding the perks they get. And, having come from this systems (proud grad of the Dufferinn/Peel Catholic School board) I can tell you that ther are GOOD, even GREAT, teachers out there, but there are also a buttload of people who just want their summers off and a guarenteed 60k/year retirement pkg. (and I know that retirement number is a FACT).

Do you want to be Greece in 10 years with more people collecting pensions than money to pay them??

People should earn their raises on merit, not on how long they have managed to go without being fired...My son has one of teh most amazing kindergarden teaches i have ever seen, I have nothing but respect for the profession, but the amount of money and perks teachers get have to be controlled before we bury ourselves.

Please note, I feel the same way about all gov't employees...the whole lot of them are overpaied and have a huge, undeserved, sense of entitlement.

T
December 7, 2012 / 14:31

Rob Ford showed up at a party drunk as a skunk last night: http://warrenkinsella.com/2012/12/rob-ford-party-animal/

Declan
December 7, 2012 / 15:15

This holiday season, I'm thankful for

The relative peace we enjoy in this world

The smell of burning logs in the fireplace

This blog, the podcast and comments from readers that bring me joy each day

Thank you all.

Blind Dave
December 7, 2012 / 15:21

So I mentioned last week that I basically had all my Xmas shopping done, at which point Mike and Rosie mentioned on the podcast that internet orders don't count (or words to that effect).

For your information, I only ordered FOUR things off the internet. The rest were gift certificates and I actually had to make the effort to GO OUT and get them!!!!! :)

Lorne
December 7, 2012 / 15:27

@MissPhil: Not confusing you with Argie. For example, I'm actually replying to you.

"Retirement package"..."perks"...

This also gets brought up time and time again-- specifically the pension plan. The pension plan has nothing to do with the government, or cost savings, or anything. It's an investment fund-- funded entirely by the members. The taxpayer isn't paying for it. It's disingenuous to the point of being inflammatory to even bring it up in the same discussion as the strike, or negotiations. If you take your paycheck, invest it in a good RRSP-- enough to retire on-- should you have to take a pay cut because of it? Because you're making too much?

And the perks-- they're nice, but not groundbreaking. And again, they were something right on the table. It was offered up. "Hey government-- wanna save money? Don't pay for them. Just let us take care of it." If the benefits plan was such a burden to the government and the taxpayers, why wasn't that offer considered?

And hey, the private company that I work for offers a benefit plan that's more or less on pay with OSSTF's plan. But someone in Greece doesn't have one. Should I have to give it up? What about my RRSP? We're in tough economical times, right? I shouldn't be allowed to save, should I?

Lorne
December 7, 2012 / 15:29

@Blind Dave: I think internet orders count. You still have to find the item, deal with the craptacular shopping cart software, put in credit card information, and possibly make (yet another) username/password. Then its all in limbo until you have the items delivered and in hand.

Toronto Mike
December 7, 2012 / 15:30

I just heard the Blind Boys of Alabama on CBCRadioOne and they sounded great.

Here they are covering Tom Waits for the greatest television show in the history of the world:

Toronto Mike
December 7, 2012 / 15:30

@Lorne and @Blind Dave

Internet orders count, in that it's a great way to buy gifts... but you lose bragging rights when you shop early and it's all online.

Lorne
December 7, 2012 / 15:48

@Toronto Mike: A grey area, but fair enough.

Mike from Lowville
December 7, 2012 / 16:34

@Gary, "Union once had a place but now they are just bullies." That's the biggest lie and I might add crock of shit! If the ever was a time for Unions, that time is NOW! Capitalism has not been this mean and aggressive since before World War II. That's when Unions grew. History repeats itself.....again!

Rosie
December 7, 2012 / 16:53

@Blind Dave oh it counts! The point is getting the shopping done, and you did! AND I'M STILL JEALOUS! I made a pathetic stab at it today and ended up with four Starbucks gift cards. Am NOT INSPIRED this year.

anonymous
December 7, 2012 / 18:14

@ ALL

Just my opinion

Toronto Mike has to be given a LOT of credit for keeping this blog available for so many years & giving us readers a voice on different topics. Us who comment, frequently agree & disagree with each other & that's what makes this blog popular. When comments about others get PERSONAL - that is where the line has to be drawn as it's getting worse lately.

As for some who comment - every week it's the same old, same old stuff. Isn't there more than bitching & complaining constantly about the same crap - Rob Ford, NHL, Grocery Gateway, Religion, etc. I know this open forum is a time to comment but everything seems negative most of the time.

VERY FEW POSITIVE overall.

How do you think the 2 DJ's Australia feel now after today?


Toronto Mike
December 7, 2012 / 18:38

I know everyone will want to by me a gift this holiday season, but it's okay. I don't need anything. You can all give me an interesting comment or two this Christmas.

And click an ad or two on your way out. :)

Patrick
December 7, 2012 / 18:49

I like boobs. I'm a boob guy. I don't want to see yours or your wife's. I don't look for them on the internet and won't look if I think she is under 22.

CQ
December 7, 2012 / 19:33

Good unions are needed. It's the bad unions which make all of them look terrible. Take the Hostess Cupcake company's bankruptcy for example. Multiple unions were involved, yet they all now lose their jobs.
When I started in 'learned' office work, I was brought in at year A's low-ball(!) salary. A few months later a newer boss called me in and gave me a surprise raise. I was young, I confided in my pod buddy. Oooh, salary talk in the office. My pod buddy - who started only a couple months previous (now, in Year B) was still earning more than me and my 'new' salary. I demanded the second raise. I shouldn't have been put into that position of so-called malcontent.
What would others have done? Accept it as less because the immediate level boss likes you, any employment is precious, and he/she didn't have to offer anything, or demand an equal pay to your co-worker(s), on faith and without full payroll knowledge - when you also have whatever seniority is involved and the assigned tasks are evenly rotated?

The other 'office' company I worked at - my job tasks steadily grew and grew and grew. I still got completely passed over for a rare open position. I also found myself making a raise demand - yet only after being granted+ an 'insult raise' (when someone came in for that open position).
When my job got sliced by 2/3rds, I asked for the severance package being given to others. They would have kept me for transition - to set up a new team, with new reports, (all) having years' lesser seniority - and kicked me aside regardless. Alone (after the other mass job cuts and displacements) - I wouldn't have any chance for a severance deal.

+ Assuming that a proven unsecurable job - requesting a directed multi-year professional education - which doesn't afford a used car, a mortgage, or a company pension, is stll an actual job? Too late for me: work is only "work" if/when you are getting paid for it!

Blind Dave
December 7, 2012 / 20:40

@Rosie

I hear ya. Neither of us are the slightest bit inspired either. We'll both be glad when it's over, but are hoping to grab one or two days just for ourselves and enjoy some much needed down and alone time.

And I actually did get a few presents the old fashioned way, though the online ordering and the gift cards were a part of it also.

Our mall is small enough that you can go there first thing in the morning and it's still reasonably quiet. We did that on our last run and were home and dry by 11am.

I'll be avoiding the place till after NY now.

Rosie
December 7, 2012 / 20:55

LORNE won my first contest! Congrats!

@Rick C, Monica & Lynne... thank you for entering... I just found out I will have another contest on Monday for a Star Wars Galactic Pop-Up adventure book by Matthew Reinhart (with a working lightsaber!)

@Mike... I used http://www.random.org to pick my very first contest winner. Thanks for the tip :)

Matt
December 7, 2012 / 21:06

Christmas shopping is done. I'm avoiding malls like the plague now.

andrew
December 7, 2012 / 21:15

@ Patrick

You like boobs.

Take a drive North on HWY 400 & look at the scenery - Cows

Patrick
December 7, 2012 / 21:39

It was getting too serious for a Friday after work wind down. Went for a sharp turn.

Rick C in Oakville
December 7, 2012 / 21:39

Got my Christmas tree tonight at Terra Nurseries, not a bad deal $24.99 for a 6 foot Balsam Fir. My Scottish grandmother would be proud LOL. I was asking one of the lot guys if they have a lot of fresh trees to sell this year, and it seems more people a re picking artificial now.
What does everyone in the Open Mike Nation do for a tree?
I was going to comment on the Teachers/Union situation, but in the spirit of Anonymous's posting will pass for this week.

Gary
December 8, 2012 / 08:03

@ anonymous

Ok...so you wrote a nice little note about how everyone is so negative and you state..."VERY FEW POSITIVE overall." And then you end it by asking about how the 2 DJ's in Australia feel now??

Cheryl
December 8, 2012 / 08:28

Well, putting no junk mail on my door wouldn't help as I live in a building and mail gets put into my mailbox. I told the mailman I didn't want junk mail and just throw it out, but he said it's his job to give it to me anyway. I hate Rogers. I hate Bell, but they send me stuff anyway. I used to have Bell, but the thing is discovering Primus made me get rid of Bell, and boy am I glad I got rid of bell. Primus is the best thing that ever happened.

4x4 Time
December 8, 2012 / 09:01

I am ok with foreign investment in energy companies like Nexen and Progress Energy, but to sell out outright control is setting dangerous precidents. Having a criminal state like China owning these Canadian assets is troublesome.

4x4 Time
December 8, 2012 / 09:01

I am ok with foreign investment in energy companies like Nexen and Progress Energy, but to sell out outright control is setting dangerous precidents. Having a criminal state like China owning these Canadian assets is troublesome.

Rick C in Oakville
December 8, 2012 / 10:53

@4x4 Time: Agreed, if it was a fully transparent, corporation with an accountable board, definitely. China's record in Afican countries has been less than stellar. Look in BC, they brought in over 200 workers to work at the State owned coal mine. The feds and BC government have to answer on how this happened.
I heard there have been Chinese workers injured in the oil patch which are currently under investigation.

Lorne
December 8, 2012 / 11:52

@Rosie: I won! It was totally worth hacking random.org and re-writing their number generating routine for.

I mean it was luck. Pure luck.

Toronto Mike
December 8, 2012 / 12:06

The women who killed herself obviously has issues we don't know about. This prank may have been the straw that broke the camel's back, but we lack the appropriate context to fully understand what was happening in her life. I'm sorry she felt the only road out was to kill herself. Depression is awful.

But, the bit by the DJs isn't to blame. It was actually a pretty funny bit, and I wouldn't at all compare it to bullying.

This is just an unfortunate situation all around.

Rick C in Oakville
December 8, 2012 / 13:08

I read this account that she only passed the call up to another nurse.

Saldanha had answered the call as it was early morning and there were no receptionists on duty, and had passed it to a nurse on the ward. Saldanha, who had worked at the hospital for four years, had not been facing any disciplinary action, a source said.

Toronto Mike
December 8, 2012 / 13:36

It was a pretty light hearted prank, and pretty funny, really. We all enjoyed it until the suicide.

Blaming the DJs for this death is misdirected anger, in my humble opinion. Rosie and I are going to discuss this on episode #19 of Toronto Mike'd.

Toronto Mike
December 8, 2012 / 13:37

@CQ

Why don't you put your different opinion here where the conversation is happening? Why link out to your contribution to the discussion?

Just voice it here.

Rosie
December 8, 2012 / 14:59

My family spent the last week visiting nonno at St. Joseph's hospital with his broken ribs and collarbone. Having seen how hard the nurses work to take care of him and many other very sick and difficult patients, I have a lot to say about prank calls to hospitals. Sure prank calls can be funny. Making them to hospitals is completely f**king out of order. Will discuss further on Tuesday!

CQ
December 8, 2012 / 15:23

@Toronto Mike (13:37 p.m.)
I had already posted my opinion (with a newspaper article and an opinion column), 90 minutes earlier, within my own blog site.

Toronto Mike
December 8, 2012 / 16:00

@CQ

It's just a strange move... forcing followers of the dicussion to another page to read your opinion. It's one thing to link to a MSM article from the Star or Globe or whatever, but to read your thoughts... might as well just reiterate them here so more people will see them.

4x4 Time
December 8, 2012 / 16:39

What is your choice, real tree or artificial for Christmas? Our kids will not be coming home this year for Christmas, so this is our first year with artificial...Not digging it...

CQ
December 8, 2012 / 17:12

@Toronto Mike
Briefly stating that my opinion is different from your's in a simple blame / no blame topic is enough to generally and clearly inform others and yet to allow everyone's conversation to flow onwards. My included self-link is just to offer anyone a more fully extended response of mine.

You have an apparent adverse attitude towards me. That's fair, given our usual public differences. However it reveals itself every time whenever you respond to me with a quietly resentful and terse complaint. The internet and its blogosphere doesn't begin and end strictly at your own website.

Liz
December 8, 2012 / 18:07

Hey Toronto Mike People! Hope the week was reasonably kind to each of you.

Instead of bitching about @Cheryl's iterative posts, I'll share about our Christmas tree traditions. Wildly exciting, I know!

Our son Paul has played rep hockey for too many years to count. That schedule is a demanding one that leaves precious little time for much else in life. So over the years we got into a 'drive-by Ikea on the way to the game' habit. As it happens, we went today for the 'drive-by' and also managed to inhale a nice salmon lunch before getting on the 400 and heading to the arena for his game. The tree's sitting in the garage so the rain can drip off. Yes, I lead SUCH a glamourous life.

I am SO NOT a Christmas fan. I'm weary from the crass commercialism of it all. Let's give people who already have WAY TOO much a whole lot more. It's bullshit. I'm hoping to grab a day to hit Hamburg, NY and Victor, NY (where there's an LLBean store). My husband Mike is a fan of microbrewed beer - in particular Rogue Brewery (from the US West Coast). I can pick up some amazing beer (in his view) at Wegman's - a fab grocery store. I'll pick up a sweet turkey there, too. I declare every single item I buy and never pay duty. I'm too small potatoes, I guess.

The boy needs a new computer - the old one just up and died (and being in Grade 12, it's a necessity). He and I were at the Apple Alter last night to check things out. I ask you knowledgeable folks, PC or MAC? Which would be the best bang for the buck? I appreciate any advice you could offer.

Time now for a frosty Heineken while I chop veggies for a homemade pizza. I am behind in my podcasts so I'll listen to one while I get dinner ready.

Before I go, I have to say I really am dreading listening to all of the teachers in our family at the annual Christmas bitch off. Cause after all people, they are entitled to their entitlements. You know how I know? They tell me every fucking chance they get.

Toronto Mike
December 8, 2012 / 19:02

@CQ

No adverse attitude towards you... just a pet peeve of mine is forcing a part of the convo to another site when it's unnecessary. It destroys the organic flow of the page.

Link to your blog if you wish, but don't forget to tell us why you disagree.

By the way, I read your entry and I still don't understand your thoughts on this.

Rick C in Oakville
December 8, 2012 / 19:03

Liz, go Apple. Maybe more costly up front, but my 2 kids have been running them for 4+ years and I only get a call to set up a new printer or wireless router. We have PC in the house and it always goes down when i'm on the road and someone needs to print or finish a project. The stress over the phone nearly kills me.
I don't like the gifty side of Christmas, but i love getting together with my family (maybe not the 2 that are teachers this year) drinking and eating a ton, and of course all the lights and decorations.
Enjoy your Heineken.

Toronto Mike
December 8, 2012 / 19:06

@Liz

PC or Mac... an age old question. Here's a full convo we had about it recently: http://www.torontomike.com/2012/03/windows_vs_mac_vs_linux.html

As a guy who uses Linux, Windows and a Mac almost every day, I can tell you none is perfect. The Mac will cost you the most, but that hardware is so damn sturdy... it just feels better in your hands. The MacBookPro I use for work is so solid.

And the OSX is very stable... the Mac never crashes.

I'm not an Apple fan, but if you've got the money he'd love a Mac unless he's a gamer who needs Windows for his video games. That's the X factor here.

Let us know what video games he needs to play, if any. And remember, the Mac will cost you twice what the PC will cost you.

Anon@on
December 8, 2012 / 19:30

@Liz
Keep in mind, if $$ are a breaking point, you can qualify for the education discount from Apple if buying for a student.

Liz
December 8, 2012 / 20:54

It bugs me that I used the wrong 'altar'. Typing too quickly and not self-editing. Grrr.

Thanks Rick C., TO Mike and Anon@on - I really need guidance here. Of course this is an unplanned purchase and exams are coming up. CCU's are underway as of next week and The Kid is freaking out (which is atypical - Paul is a calm, uber happy, easy-going dude). They're doing a ton of stuff in class this week - and going forward that involves a laptop. I said that you can't possibly be the only one without a laptop - and then received an email from his teachers reminding them to make sure they had enough memory for the upcoming assignments. All of this at the same time that university applications are being prepared.

Money is definitely an issue. University is just around the corner and The Kid was 'selected' as a Leader something or-other for the trip to Kenya in May. Holy F. This volunteer stuff is super-de-duper expensive. All of this at the worst possible financial time. I'm grateful for the input, guys. I truly am. Mike just got home from his hockey and I read your comments to him. We're not only trying to figure out which way to go - we're also trying to figure out which oral cavity to pull it from.

As far as gaming, Paul's an X-Box guy for his games which are all sports related.

And what is it with this demo, the 17-20 year olds, they sure love the 'How I Met Your Mother'. Yes, I know, it could be A LOT worse.

P.S. Pizza is a hit - TO Mike - you'd hate it - spinach, brocc, red and yellow peppers. :)

Cheryl
December 8, 2012 / 21:31

My Suns lost today. That's awful. Hopefully they'll win tomorrow and it's about time for a Cardinals win as well. My trainer won, then lost, and then won. He has to play again tomorrow. He has to win two more games to make it to regionals in January.

Douglas
December 8, 2012 / 22:42

Why don't we all just get along, sit down, and for the umpteenth time, watch "A Christmas Story"?

I introduced my sons to this classic a while back. Another Christmas tradition...

Ben Vidal
December 9, 2012 / 01:23

How about the F35 jet fiasco. What do you call it when everyone says something will cost more and you say no it won't and you hate our troops if you don't support this. Oh yeah that's right it's called lying, fear mongering and creating a divide in this great country.

Rick C in Oakville
December 9, 2012 / 07:22

Douglas, "you will shoot your eye out" Classic. Still my favourite, up there with National Lampoons Christmas, "Shi**ers Full". I guess my humour is the lowest common denominator, probably why I like H&F so much!

Cheryl
December 9, 2012 / 07:47

I don't like any of those Christmas stories. I don't. My trainer will probably win today. That will be good, but I really want my Cardinals and Suns to win as well. It's about time.

Anonymous
December 9, 2012 / 11:53

I just read a H&F response to the radio prank call, it was on my Sympatico page. I haven't listened to the Friday show yet, but I know what I'm going to hear on the subject.
I'm not surprised they defended the call in the article, and I'm not surprised media types will probably defend the call.

I think it was over the line. It was taking advantage of someone and making them the butt of the joke. This woman was going about her business and ended up being shamed and humiliated locally, nationally, and internationally. If you find that funny, or worthwhile collateral damage for the success of your joke...

I don't think it takes much talent or ability to take advantage of someone for your own gain. It's much harder to make yourself the joke by involving unsuspecting people in your prank.

Example: Mr. Goohead. He is the joke. The person he's talking to isn't the joke. You have a sympathetic or empathetic view for the unsuspecting person on the phone.

My local radio does this kind of fake call stuff all the time, and it is so... cheap, predictable, and self absorbed. It isn't clever.

Anon&0n
December 9, 2012 / 11:55

That's my comment on the H&F radio call, forgot to sign it.

Toronto Mike
December 9, 2012 / 13:23

We watch A Christmas Story every December without fail. Love that film...

Cheryl
December 9, 2012 / 16:45

My Trainer won his first game. Hope he wins the second. Cardinals are playing. No score in that game. They better win because they haven't in a long time.

Blind Dave
December 9, 2012 / 16:56

@Anon&0n

I've never found this type of radio "humour" even the slightest bit humourous either. It's juvenile at best. That's one main reason I avoid morning zoo type radio shows. Shut the hell up and play the music. If I want to hear talk radio, I'll turn to a talk radio station that does it properly.

When this story first broke -- the first bit about the prank -- I just walked away from the tv and came back a couple of minutes later when the next story was on. I simply didn't want to hear about it. Then came the suicide, which undoubtedly had more to do with other things than just the prank. Anon is right. You don't need to embarrass someone to be funny, but unfortunately, that is the culture of a certain type of morning radio.

Anonymous
December 9, 2012 / 20:31

My Cardinals got clobbered 58 to 0. Disgusting game. My trainer won today though so he goes to regionals in January.

Argie
December 10, 2012 / 14:05

"It's an investment fund-- funded entirely by the members. The taxpayer isn't paying for it."

That's a complete Lorne, and you know it. The govt matches what the teachers contribute - and in this case the % of salary contribution is way above the standard. What's even more wonderful (if you're a teacher) is that if the investment managers screw up and the pension plan drops in value, the govt will step in and will contribute even more so that all teachers have their awesome pension - which of course beings at 55 for most of them.

And so folks, is there any wonder the province is broke?

Argie
December 10, 2012 / 14:06

Sorry I meant to say "a complete lie, Lorne....."


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