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Leafs Win 2016 NHL Draft Lottery

The Leafs had a 20% chance of winning tonight's 2016 NHL Draft Lottery and the balls bounced in our favour for once. We've won the lottery and will draft first overall on June 24.

I don't know about you, but I'm pretty happy. It's nice to know all that losing last season has paid off. Auston Matthews is all but a lock to go first, so if the Leafs don't trade the pick, Matthews will be the big talented center we've lacked since Mats Sundin.

AM

If the Raps win game 7 tomorrow night, this would be one helluva sports weekend in this city.

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Damn Raptors

Let's go back to the Rudy Gay trade. It was late 2013, and the Raptors traded Rudy Gay to the Sacramento Kings in a 7-player deal. The Kings sending John Salmons, Greivis Vasquez, Patrick Patterson and Chuck Hayes to Toronto in exchange for Gay, Aaron Gray and Quincy Acy.

That's when the Raptors team I fell in love with was born. Everything came together the remainder of that season. They immediate went on a 10-3 run and finally rose above .500. DeMar DeRozan was an all-star. We won the Atlantic Division, but lost to the Nets in the first round. Fuck Brooklyn.

We started the 2014-15 season 24-8. The core of Kyle Lowry and DeRozan won us another Atlantic Division title. We won a franchise record 49 games that season, but not a single one in the playoffs.

That brings us to this season. I watched more Raptors basketball this season than ever before. Lowry and DeRozan were all-stars again, and this team was exciting. 56 wins is a new franchise record, and for the first time ever, the Raps were a 2 seed in the conference. As pleased as I was with the regular season, I'm no fool. Here's a thorough explanation as to why I was showing restraint.

The Raptors have never won a best-of-seven playoff round. Never. This team was built to change that, but proof is in the pudding. Winning one round is essential, but it's going to take at least two to satisfy fans.

This pudding tastes like shit. Our all-stars are shooting miserably. At least Lowry is contributing in other ways. On most nights, DeRozan is most helpful with his ass nailed to the bench. I'd argue, with Lowry and DeRozan unable to make baskets, we're the least intimidating 2 seed in NBA history.

Tomorrow night is game 7. As a guy who has invested so many hours in this teams, I'm pissed, hurt, disappointed and dismayed. Do I believe we can win this series? Hell no. I hope I'm wrong, but I know stealing this series in seven likely means getting swept in round two. This is not a team built for the playoffs. This is a team built for the regular season.

Our We The North flag continues to hang in the bay window, and we're still hoping the regular season Raps show up Sunday night, but the writing's on the wall. The team needs an enema.

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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 170: Steve Simmons

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 170In this 170th episode, Mike chats with Toronto Sun columnist Steve Simmons about his years at the Sun, his relationships with Damien Cox, David Shoalts and James Mirtle, his thoughts on analytics in hockey, his Phil Kessel story about hot dogs, how he got Howard Berger fired and what it was like being a day oner at The Fan 590, The Team 1050 and The Score. This episode is exactly 1:34:59.

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

Become a Patron

Catch up on all episodes of Toronto Mike'd and subscribe here.

Toronto Mike'd Podcast

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 169: PJ Fresh Phil

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 169In this 169th episode, Mike chats with PJ Fresh Phil about his decade on YTV working with the Grogs and Snit and what he's been up to since. This episode is exactly 1:28:27.

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

Become a Patron

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Catch up on all episodes of Toronto Mike'd and subscribe here.

Toronto Mike'd Podcast

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All-time Blue Jays Home Run Leaders

Yesterday, I witnessed Edwin Encarnacion's 200th home run as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays. It was the lone bright spot in a dreadful game. All the fun and excitement was happening down the street where my Raps played a ridiculous fourth quarter to escape with a big win in game 5 of their first round series against the Pacers.

Encarnacion's 200th puts him 6th on the Blue Jays all-time list. Here's the current top 10. I'm pleased to say I've witnessed homers by all 10 of them.

  1. Carlos Delgado - 336
  2. Jose Bautista - 247
  3. Vernon Wells - 223
  4. Joe Carter - 203
  5. George Bell - 202
  6. Edwin Encarnacion - 200
  7. Jesse Barfield - 179
  8. Lloyd Moseby - 149
  9. Adam Lind - 146
  10. Ernie Whitt - 146

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Don't Steal My Bike

The Star has an article today about the worst streets for locking up your bike. Not surprisingly, downtown is where most of the thefts occur.

Toronto is the bike theft capital of the world with more than 18,000 bikes reported stolen between Jan. 1, 2010 and June 30, 2015. As a cyclist, I'm rather sensitive to this, and as careful as possible.

For the vast majority of my rides, I don't lock up my bike at all. And when I do bike to a destination, as I did today, I'm careful to choose a highly visible area and use multiple locks, including my trusty Kryptonite.

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No lock is unbreakable, but I like to think thieves with smaller tools will bypass my locks for an easier score. So far, so good.

I haven't had a bike stolen since I was 14 and it was lifted from the family garage. Have you had a bike stolen in this city? If so, what kind of lock did you use and where did you leave it?

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My Asthma Overdiagnosis Story

With great interest I read this CBC article about the fact many Canadians diagnosed with asthma don't in fact have it. This was my experience with my firstborn.

Weeks before his second birthday, my oldest ended up in the hospital with pneumonia. I spent five nights sleeping on that cot while we watched old VHS tapes of Sponge Bob Squarepants. During this stay, an asthma specialist at St. Joseph's Health Center diagnosed my son with asthma and prescribed two inhalers. One of these inhalers was to be taken by my son every morning, so we started him getting used to this new ritual.

Coincidentally, and sadly, his pediatrician at this time died suddenly from an aggressive form of cancer. We switched him to a new pediatrician and I'll never forget the convo I had with him, only a few months after James's asthma diagnosis.

Doc: He only had pneumonia the once?
Me: Yes
Doc: And there's no other difficulty breathing?
Me: Correct
Doc: And the doctor diagnosed him with asthma and prescribed this puffer to be taken daily?
me: Yes
Doc: He doesn't have asthma (proceeds to throw inhaler in garbage). He doesn't need this treatment.

This was about 12 years ago, and there hasn't been a symptom of asthma since. The doc who made the original diagnosis was well regarded in his field but time has proven him wrong. I'm not at all surprised to read about studies like this Dutch one. More than 600 children diagnosed as having asthma were examined and it was found nearly 54 per cent likely did not have it.

I am not a doctor, but if your child has been diagnosed with asthma, you may want to get a second opinion. And then, if it's all tied up, a third opinion. Inhalers have negative side-effects. You don't want your kid taking one every day if they don't have to.

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How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Midges

I hated the midges during my first spring living by the lake. At the time I didn't even know they had a name. I just knew there were swarms of annoying bugs everywhere and I even biked wearing a balaclava to avoid ingesting dozens of them at a time. Yes, even in twenty degree weather I donned a balaclava because of these damn bugs.

Last spring, they bothered me far less. I stopped wearing the balaclava and stopped complaining about the midges. After all, they're harmless.

This spring, I see them as a sign summer is indeed coming. It's a springtime tradition on and near the waterfront in this city, and I'm not going to let them bother me. I pick them out of my eyes and nose and consider it bonus protein when they get in my mouth.

The midges aren't going anywhere and neither am I, so I learned to stop worrying and embrace this slice of life in south Toronto.

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Subscribe to Podcasts in Google Play

At last, podcasts have come to Google Play Music. I've been waiting for this for a very long time.

This entry isn't for you iPhone users who subscribe to podcasts in iTunes. This is for those of us who prefer Android. We can now easily subscribe and play podcast episodes via the native Google Play app on our devices.

For example, let's say you wanted to subscribe to my podcast, Toronto Mike'd. I highly recommend you do this asap. On your Android device, visit this link. If you've installed the most recent update to Google Play, it will automatically open on the landing page for Toronto Mike'd. Simply select the "Subscribe" button.

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You'll also see a list of all episodes of the podcast. You can easily play them and/or share them. It really is slick and exactly what we Android users have been looking for.

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If you're not an Android user, you can still subscribe and enjoy podcasts via Google Play on the web. The same url will bring you to my podcast's page. Here's how it looks on the web.

googleplay

Not only can you search for your favourite podcasts but Google Play Music will offer contextual recommendations, just like it does with music.

It's been a long time coming but it's well worth the wait.

Notes:

  • Google only unveiled this new feature this week, and is still rolling it out on Android devices. I got the update pushed to me two days ago, but it's possible you don't yet have the update. The fastest way to know if you have the new update is to visit this link. If you don't see the Toronto Mike'd logo, you don't have the update yet.
  • If your favourite podcaster hasn't added their podcast to Google Play yet, you won't find it. Most of the big ones are already there, but some podcasters haven't got around to it yet.

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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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The Oldest and the Youngest

On Tuesday night, my oldest won his house league's hockey championship. I enjoyed every second of it from the lonely end of the rink.

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This morning, a package arrive for my youngest and it included this little doll. I thought I'd snap a pic.

Morgan

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Prince, Dead at 57

PrincePrince was 57. He pioneered "the Minneapolis sound" and took on the music industry in his fight for creative freedom. He won seven Grammy Awards, and has earned 30 nominations. Five of his singles have topped the charts and 14 other songs hit the Top 10. He won an Oscar for the original song score to the classic film "Purple Rain."

purplerain

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5 Things you must do when Visiting Toronto

island

There are few locations in this world that offer the diversity of Canada, which combines staggering natural beauty and wonders with bustling, metropolitan cities. This is why Canada remains popular not only among those with a desire to travel and see more of the world, but also individuals who wish to relocate for the purposes of work.

If there is one city or region of Canada that embodies this, it is Toronto. A central hub for both commerce and adventure for Canada, Toronto is home to some of Canada's most beautiful landmarks and it is one of the first ports of call for any international visitors (regardless of their origin).

1. The Toronto Islands

Just a quick ferry ride from the centre of the city, the Toronto Islands are a small chain of picturesque islands that provide the perfect break from a bustling town. With long stretches of golden coastline, sun-kissed shores and tranquil lakes, this is a wonderful site and one that is tailor-made for those who love nature.

2. St. Lawrence Market

This sensational marketplace has been a neighbourhood meeting place for more than 200 years, while it is surrounding by historic, restored buildings and some of the world's most famous speciality food stalls. The old city council chambers have also been remodelled as an exhibition centre, which includes rotating displays of paintings, iconic photography and some relevant, historical relics.

3. The Casino Rama

From the city centre, you can take a two hour trek to find Casino Rama, which is one of Canada's most popular gaming hubs. With over 2500 slot machines and an incredible diversity of daily, live entertainment, the Casino Rama is a bustling location that has plenty to offer visitors regardless of their preferences. For virtual gamblers who have benefited from the rise of trusted online casinos in the UK, this resort may offer the ideal chance to try out a bricks and mortar establishment.

4. The AGO, Art Gallery of Ontario

The AGO is an excellent example of a venerable city institution, and one which is working hard to become a central point for Toronto as a whole. With a number of thrilling exhibits and a growing range of national treasures, visitors can peruse a whole host of rooms and it is even home to quite stunning Henry Moore sculpture collection. There are few galleries where you can get so close to such beguiling pieces of work, so this is well worth a visit.

5. Ripley's Aquarium of Canada

This resort sits at the heart of down-town Toronto, and it is arguably the cities most exciting family attraction. The largest aquarium in Canada, it provides a thrilling underwater adventure for everyone regardless of their age, tastes or preferences. The resort showcases more than 16,000 marine animals, while it is also home to the world's most expensive and revered jelly fish collections.

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Chyna, Dead at 45

ChynaChyna was 45. Joanie Laurer wrestled in the WWF as Chyna where she was billed as the "Ninth Wonder of the World".

chyna

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 168: Vic Rauter

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 168In this 168th episode, Mike chats with TSN broadcaster Vic Rauter about his years at TSN, the origin of his "make the final" catch phrase, Ron Burgundy, the many sports he's called and the unfortunate corporatization of sports media. This episode is exactly 1:35:32.

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

Become a Patron

20160419_130741

Catch up on all episodes of Toronto Mike'd and subscribe here.

Toronto Mike'd Podcast

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Doris Roberts, Dead at 90

Doris RobertsDoris Roberts was 90. She was the actress who earned four Emmys for playing Marie Barone on Everybody Loves Raymond.

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Questions for Vic Rauter

I will be sitting down later this week with Vic Rauter, long-time broadcast at TSN. He'll be dropping by to record an episode of my podcast Toronto Mike'd, and I get an entire hour to ask him anything I want.

vic

I know what questions I'll be asking him, but I'd love to know what you would ask him. What questions would you like me to ask Vic Rauter?

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How Does Rogers Hockey Decide Which Games to Broadcast?

I've been watching quite a bit of playoff hockey these past three nights. My oldest and I toggled between three games last night, watching Tampa Bay, Florida and Chicago win.

Although Rogers broadcasts all playoff games, they've only sent their crew to broadcast four of the eight series. Bob Cole is covering Tampa Bay vs. Detroit, Paul Romanuk is covering Anaheim vs. Nashville and LA vs. San Jose and Jim Hughson is assigned to Washington vs. Philadelphia.

I understand why Rogers would want to save some cash by simulcasting four of the series, but I find their choice of which series to send a crew to be rather curious. When I look at the eight series, a few pop out as series that would lure in a hockey fan without a geographic rooting interest. One, without a doubt, is Chicago vs. St. Louis.

Chicago is as close to a dynasty as you can get in this era, and this first round match-up looks to be stellar. Shouldn't Hughson and the crew be all over this one?

Another series that is screaming for Bob Cole is Pittsburgh vs. New York. Plenty of big names in that one, including Golden Goal and current best-player-on-the-planet Sid "The Kid" Crosby. Oh baby, Cole would sound great calling Crosby's breakaway goal in game one.

Does anyone know how the Roger Hockey decision makers chose which series to cover and which to merely simulcast? Anaheim vs. Nashville seems like a particularly curious choice.

Leave your thoughts and/or facts in the comments.

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Daily Photo: Canada Malting Co. Limited

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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 167: Retrontario

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 167In this 167th episode, Mike chats with Retrontario about Gord Martineau, Jennifer Peck Valentyne, the Amber Alert, Hammy Hamster, Blinky, Elmer the Safety Elephant, Uncle Bobby, Heather Conkie, Ron Oliver, Sam Taylor, Magic Shadows, Seeing Things and much, much more. This episode is exactly 1:22:07.

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

Become a Patron

Catch up on all episodes of Toronto Mike'd and subscribe here.

Toronto Mike'd Podcast

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The Crippling Cost of Daycare in Ontario

My oldest son went into daycare when he turned one. His mother's parental leave ended, and she went back to work. James started daycare, and I still remember the day I was told how much it costs to put a 12 month old in daycare in this city.

It cost so much, when my oldest daughter was born, it didn't make financial sense to put her in daycare at one. That would mean two kids in daycare, and we'd be poorer than if their mother quit her job and stayed home. That's exactly what we did.

I'm experiencing the exact same scenario a decade later. My youngest son has been in daycare since he turned one and his mother went back to work. My wife is now on parental leave with our newborn, but in exactly eleven months, that will end.

The Star has an article today on the proposed provincial changes to age groupings, staff-child ratios and group sizes. The end result will be fewer spaces and higher fees.

If you put your kid in daycare at 12 months, it's about $1800 a month until they turn 18 months. Then, the price plummets to a mere $1200. So with the current fee structure, it will cost us $3000 a month when my wife's parental leave expires.

The costs are already crippling, yet we're looking at increases of 20-40%. There has to be a better system.

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The Jersey

Two years ago today, my friend Mike Kic died. I think about him all the time.

Earlier this year, I received a text from his wife. She wanted me to have his #13 Brett Lawrie Blue Jays jersey. I couldn't think of a better way to honour his memory than by wearing his jersey and telling everyone who would listen who it belonged to and what an amazing guy he was.

Even the long bike ride last week to pick up the jersey was cathartic. I thought of all those ball games I played at third base with Kic behind me in LF, how passionate he was about our Jays, how he'd heckle opposing players with such zest and what he would have thought of Joey Bats's bat flip. He would have absolutely loved that.

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I'm going to cherish Kic's jersey, but it's not going to hang in some closet collecting dust. I'm going to do what he'd have wanted me to do. I'm going to wear the shit out of it.... forever.

me and kic

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My Losing Picks for 2016

Tonight, our long-time annual tradition continued as we collected to draft players for our NHL playoff pool. Although my digital records only go back to 2003, we've been drafting together since the 90s.

Last year, I actually finished second. I've never won.

Here's the team that will lose for me this year. If you're following along at home, all that matters is points. A point is a point is a point.

  • A. Kopitar- LA
  • N. Kucherov - TB
  • D. Doughty - LA
  • T. Toffoli - LA
  • J. Muzzin - LA
  • Z. Parise - MIN
  • R. Suter - MIN
  • T. Pearson - LA
  • D. Brown - LA
  • J. Voracek - PHI

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Happy 2nd Birthday, Jarvis!

My sweet boy celebrates his second birthday today. He's at an age where he knows there will be cake today, but isn't certain what all the fuss is about.

Happy birthday, son! You've come a long way.

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Blind Derek's Gift to Me

Blind Derek visited yesterday, and he came bearing a gift.

He's not the first podcast guest to come with a gift. Pete Fowler gave me a bike jersey and OPP toque, Don Landry and many others have brought me a coffee and Mike Wise brought me that, some Tidbits for the kids and a bagel with peanut butter.

Blind Derek came with a large Blue Jays logo, complete with signatures. It was immediately placed on my basement wall, alongside my Leafs and Raptors pennants. It's the kind of thing I truly dig, and it's autographed by a couple of my favourites.

Blind Derek's Gift to Me

Roy Halladay, the greatest starter in Blue Jays history, signed this placard.

Blind Derek's Gift to Me

As did Tom Cheek, the greatest commentator in Blue Jays history. Nobody did it better.

Blind Derek's Gift to Me

Thanks, Derek.

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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 166: Blind Derek

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 166In this 166th episode, Mike chats with radio vet Blind Derek Welsman about his years at 102.1 the Edge, producing the Dean Blundell Show, the jury controversy that got the show cancelled and cost him his job and how he landed on his feet at Boom and The Move. There's also plenty of media chatter about Jennifer Valentyne, Gord Martineau, Kelly Cutrara and others. This episode is exactly 1:51:45.

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

Become a Patron

Catch up on all episodes of Toronto Mike'd and subscribe here.

Toronto Mike'd Podcast

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Merle Haggard, Dead at 79

Merle HaggardMerle Haggard was 79. He was the country music giant who celebrated outlaws, underdogs and an abiding sense of national pride in such hits as "Okie From Muskogee" and "Sing Me Back Home."

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Cutting Onions

There's a Tim Hortons ad on television where the old man saves cups to commemorate life events. A guy discovers his secret box of old cups and at the end, the old guy adds one more. That's when they want me to tear up.

But I never do. There's something about that ad that seems so manipulative and contrived, it just doesn't work on me. They've got the right blueprint, but the recipe is just off.

Off the top of my head, there are a few such moments that never fail to moisten my eyes. One is actually an old Bell ad. I know this one is equally as manipulative and contrived, but it never fails to work on me. I've never been able to watch it without tearing up.

In the movies, I'm a sucker for the moment in Field of Dreams when Ray Kinsella says to his dad, "You wanna have a catch?". Every. Damn. Time.

Then, there's the ending of Big Fish. That ruins me. When I watch it with the kids, I sometimes put a cover over my head because I just sob.

What does it for you? What gets you all misty-eyed?

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Jays Will Rock You - The MuchMusic No-Stars

I've been sharing retro Blue Jays songs on this blog for over a decade. I loved those old cheesy Jays songs from the late 80s and early 90s.

This afternoon, the 2016 season begins for our Toronto Blue Jays. Before you settle in for first pitch, psych yourself up with "Jays Will Rock You" by The MuchMusic No-Stars.

Other Blue Jays audio from Toronto Mike:

joe

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Complete Guide: How to Get Started in Forex Trading

If you've never traded Forex before, the idea might be daunting. But you can start Forex trading today, with no prior experience. Yes, the internet has made it easy. And with platforms readily available online, nothing is standing in your way.

Here is what you need to know to start Forex trading.

The broker

You need a broker through which to trade Forex. The broker processes all of your trades, making it possible for you to access the markets. There are two important considerations when choosing a broker:

  1. Regulations: Financial trading is a regulated activity in almost every country. This is especially so in financial centers such as the UK, USA, Japan, etc. You should make sure to choose a broker with a government license. This ensures that you're protected in the case that something goes wrong.
  2. Order execution: Find out what type of model to use. The two options are brokers with a dealing desk and brokers without. A dealing desk simply means that your money is not actually traded. It is kept by the broker who loses that money if you lose, and pays you out his own if you win. Without a dealing desk, the order is done straight through the broker.

The account

To start Forex trading you need to select a trading account. A trading account is similar to a regular bank account. The difference is that you can use these funds to trade on the financial market. Brokers will offer a variety of trading accounts to choose from. Pay attention to minimum deposits, leverage, financial instruments available, and charts and analyses provided.

As you become more attuned to the way the Forex market works, you'll be able to make more informed decisions on what will serve you best in future.

Financial leverage

For better or for worse, Forex brokers offer higher leverage than any other. Leverage allows you to trade with far more profit potential than the actual amount you are trading. In other words, if you are offered leverage of 1:100, it means that you can trade $1 and make $100. However, it also means you can lose an equal amount, and not just what you traded.

Trading capital

No matter what, when you start Forex trading you should have trading capital set aside. This means that you trade with funds you can afford to lose. Because ultimately you probably will face failure before going on to make big money.

If you're trading with the money you need for day-to-day living, you will inevitably crumble under the pressure, making bad decisions when things start going wrong.

Trading software

Finally, you need to learn to use Forex trading software. The trading platform is what creates contact with the broker, and will usually be offered by the brokers. The industry standard is MetaTrader 4, and is offered by Admiral Markets, as well as most other brokers. It is easy to use and has complete functionality.

Start Forex trading today

Forex trading is so accessible nowadays that there are few reasons not to start Forex trading. Just make sure that you are responsible, and only trade with money you can afford to lose.

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Jennifer Valentyne Fired as Live Eye Host on Breakfast Television

I read every news item this morning with great skepticism. The morning of April 1 is when news organizations like to have fun with fake stories. When Breakfast Television posted this to their Facebook feed, I thought it was in very poor taste. What's funny about someone losing their job, especially when Rogers Media let go over 200 people earlier this year?

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But then, I visited the Breakfast Television bios page. Yesterday, it included Jennifer Valentyne's biography. Today, this has been removed from the site.

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Jennifer started her career in 1987 at City as a weekend intern while attending school and performing as a cheerleader for the Toronto Argonauts. She had been on Breakfast Television since 1992. That was an impressive 24 year run.

I'm sorry this wasn't just a bad April Fool's Day joke. Here's hoping Jennifer lands on her feet.

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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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