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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 227: Bob McKenzie

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 227In this 227th episode, Mike chats with TSN hockey insider Bob McKenzie about his career in sports broadcasting, having a son working for the competition, appearing on Howard Stern, his Bob Cast and when he'll retire. This episode is exactly 1:26:29.

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

Bob McKenzie and Me

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How's Josie Doing on Indie88?

When Josie Dye said goodbye on 102.1 the Edge, so began one of the worst kept secrets in Toronto media. Josie Dye was leaving CFNY to host the morning show on rival station Indie88.

Her show debuted last Monday. This neat little video promoted her new show with Matt and Carlin.

Josie had seemingly been on 102.1 forever. We talked about her long career there in episode 132 of Toronto Mike'd. I'm naturally curious how her new show sounds as I've been unable to sample any morning radio.

How's Josie doing on Indie88?

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Guide for Getting Free Stuff for Canadians

A wiseman once said “the best things in life are free”. Actually who knows who said what and when but one thing we know is that most people like free stuff and surprisingly there are more freebies out there than you think that you can take advantage of right now. We’ll give you our tips and tricks on getting the best things for free!

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Craigslist & Kijiji

You would be surprised at what people are giving away for free on Cragslist. Just check out the nearest city near you and look for the “for sale” section and look for “free”. Here we have found free furniture, clothes, electronics including free TVs! You can more stuff on Kijiji as well as they have a free stuff section.

https://www.craigslist.org/about/sites#CA

http://www.kijiji.ca

Red Flag Deals

Also known as RFD, this site has been around for many years and it’s filled with a huge community of Canadians that are looking out for the best deals all around. They even have a freebies section if you are straight up looking for free stuff

http://www.redflagdeals.com/go/freebies/

Free Samples & Freebie Websites

Free samples are cool and if you never looked into this, you would be shocked at all the things you can score for free. Many companies are always offering free samples as they know it is a gateway for getting more people using their products. Finding these freebies can take a lot of research but thankfully there are many websites setup that collect all this data for you and have made it their business. It’s hard to recommend any one of these sites as they all seem alike but offer the same stuff so just search for “free stuff for Canadians” in Google and you’ll find them all.

Free money from online casinos

It sounds like another one of those too good to be true things but really it is true! Online casinos exist in the hundreds and they all want you to signup and are willing to give you free spins on slots and no deposit casino bonuses just for joining. You can claim anywhere from 20 to 50 of these bonuses in total throughout different casinos. If you are lucky you’ll win on a few of these bonuses and cashout. There is a maximum cashout value associated with this free money which ranges from $50 to $100 but hey, it didn’t cost you anything. It’s an easy way to play the casino for real money without having to risk any of your own and your chances of walking away with real money are fairly good.

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Birthday Freebies

It’s your birthday and maybe your friends and family have part of your day planned for you where you don’t have to spend any money. There are many companies that like to help make your birthday more special by offering a discount or better yet something for free.

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Much to our surprise, a website is dedicated for Canadians for free stuff on their birthdays. It’s no joke and the list of things you can get for free is huge, it would be literally impossible to accomplish half the list of freebies ranging from free products, to free drinks to free food.

http://www.freebirthdaystuff.ca/

Oh and if you joined all those casinos listed above and didn’t win, just ask all of them if they have any free spins or no deposit bonuses for your birthday and you’ll have even more free money which you can use to win.

Free Education & Courses

If you are looking to upgrade your skills but don’t want to fork over money for fees and tuition then you are in luck. There has been a growing trend worldwide for free education and courses.

Want to learn to program? Codeschool offers 13 free introductory courses to get started and see if it’s for you. If you do decide you want to join more of their courses, it’s only $29/month and it covers a lot of amazing courses and programming languages.
www.codeschool.com

If you pick any topic and search for “free courses” you’ll find even more courses available. Many of these are local so if you have a college or university close by, look them up and see what free courses they are offering.

Free Books

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Free books are really everywhere if you just look. On Kindle or amazon.ca if you start searching for books by topic, you can filter by price: low to high and that will show all the books costing … $0.00 aka free. You can load up your phone with all sorts of free books and carry an entire library with you that cost you nothing.

Product Testing

You can get even more free items by being a product and service tester. There are many companies that are setup to act as an intermediary so they can connect companies with people where they get their products or services tested, get feedback and you get to enjoy the benefits of freemium products and services. Win/Win!

Free Trials

Now be very very careful when it comes to free trials, there are some companies that have mastered the art of manipulation and they have terms and conditions that put you at a disadvantage so you’ll need to protect yourself. That said, there are so many things you can do to get a free trial which limited obligations. Just be sure you ask what is required to opt out and if you want to take it to the furthest level, email to ask questions so you have it documented that you can opt out without being obligated to pay anything and record this if doing the same by phone and let the person know you are recording.

What can you get for free trials?

Gym memberships - Just search for ‘tree trial gym’ and you’d be surprised most gyms offer some type of free trial
Martial arts - Most programs will offer a day for free and some might extend it to a week. If you want to pick up a new skill and get fit, look to see what’s in your area.
Free Events - Check meetup.com to find out the latest events near you, most which are of course free.
Software - Many software products that cost money will offer a free trial.
Newspaper - Yes who reads the ‘paper news’ these days but these newspapers are struggling and will give you weeks or a month of a free trial hoping you’ll subscribe.

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 226: Faizal Khamisa

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 226In this 226th episode, Mike chats with Sportsnet's Faizal Khamisa about his battle with cancer, being Muslim, and his career in sports media. This episode is exactly 1:07:07.

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

Faizal Khamisa and me

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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

Discuss "Open Mike" (41 comments so far)


The White Men of The Fan 590

During my conversation with Bubba O'Neil, the chat turned to race in Canadian sports media. He told me the best advice he'd received was from John Saunders who told him he'd have to work ten times as hard to make it, because he was a black man.

Blacks may be underrepresented in Canadian sports media, but a recent promotional picture from Rogers to promote their sports radio hosts on The Fan 590 have me wondering about that station in particular. Here's the image if you haven't seen it yet.

fan

For those wondering if Bob McCown and Stephen Brunt really did sit together for the photo, the answer is yes. All nine gathered and collected around a table for the photo shoot.

The "countless opinions" belong to nine white men. When you review their surnames, the lack of diversity becomes even more jarring.

  • Brady
  • Price
  • Burrill
  • Cox
  • McCown
  • Brunt
  • Blair
  • Walker
  • Ennis

Herb Powell: You! What are your roots?
Exec: Well I guess you could say they extend to when the Anglos met the Saxons.
Herb Powell: In other words when white met bread.

Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?, The Simpsons

I have more questions here than answers. Without a doubt, this roster of sports talk radio talent is not representative of the world's most diverse city, but is it representative of sports radio listeners?

If one argues they are representative of sports radio listeners, is that a reflection of the fact all opinions are from a while male perspective? Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

And finally, does this matter? Should sports talk radio in Toronto feature a more diverse roster of talent? Does anyone care?

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Chuck Berry, Dead at 90

Chuck BerryChuck Berry was 90. He was the the singer, songwriter and guitar great who practically defined rock music with his impeccably twangy hits “Maybellene,” “Roll Over Beethoven,” “Memphis,” “My Ding-a-Ling” and “Sweet Little Sixteen.”

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 225: Carly Agro

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 225In this 225th episode, Mike chats with Sportsnet's Carly Agro about her career in sports media, having a twin at CBC and who she sees as the rising stars at Sportsnet. This episode is exactly 1:21:31.

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

Carly Agro and me

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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 Star Podcasting Article

Yesterday afternoon, the Toronto Star published an article entitled Canadian sports media hears the call of the podcast. It's written by Raju Mudhar, a journalist I had a brief phone conversation with a few weeks ago.

The article is about the plethora of mainstream sports media podcasts being launched in this country, featuring such luminaries as Bob McKenzie, James Duthie, and Bob Cole. Oh, and he mentions another podcast as well...

Raju actually refers to Toronto Mike'd as "the platonic ideal of podcasts". That's a tremendous quote, worthy of a tee shirt. At the very least it should be my new tagline.

Then he jokes: “Although now that guys like James Duthie are getting into it, I have no idea how we little guys are supposed to compete.”

I did say that as a joke, but it's not really a joke. As famous people like McKenzie, Jay and Dan and Duthie turn to podcasting, it's the independent home grown podcasts that suffer. That's just the way it is... unless you're the platonic ideal of podcasts.

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The Baby Turns One

Morgan turns one

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 224: 12:36

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 224In this 224th episode, Mike chats with Marc Weisblott of 12:36 about the current state of the media in Canada. This episode is exactly 1:47:08.

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

12:36

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This and That

On Saturday morning I was bundling up the little one for a walk to a local brunch establishment when I couldn't stop myself from taking a picture. She'll be one on Wednesday and I know all too well how quickly they grow. So I snapped a picture with my LG G3, uploaded it to my Flickr account and put the phone back in my pocket.

Morgan's almost one

That was the last photo I took with that phone. During brunch, I whipped it out to check email and it was powered off. And it wouldn't power on. Even after ensuring it was fully charged and removing the battery and all that there was no life in that phone.

After brunch I bought groceries before calling Rogers. It's remarkable how it feels to be without a smartphone for even a few hours. Ten years ago, I didn't even own a cell phone, and now I consider it an essential service.

As usual, Rogers was willing to upgrade my phone, but it would cost me. They wanted to switch me to one of their new, more expensive plans, and I wanted to speak to their retention department. They were actually pretty decent, allowing me to keep my current plan and giving me an LG G4. I hopped on my bike and headed for Royal York and Bloor to pick it up.

No phone meant no use of my MapMyRide app to record the ride. It was my first unrecorded ride in five years. That also felt strange, as if I wasn't biking at all. I have completely gamified my daily exercise. If a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound?

It was cold and windy and as I pedaled my way north on Royal York, in the bike lane, a man in a black pickup truck took the time to yell "get off the road!" at me. In all my years of cycling Toronto's streets I don't think I ever heard that sentiment in that tone. Heck, I was in a bike lane!

I also realized that my wireless Bluetooth headphones did a pretty great job of keeping my ears from getting cold. I normally wear them under a balaclava but without a phone didn't have them on. The cold air was flowing into my ear canal and I realized they're for more than just podcasts and tunes.

By 1pm on Saturday I had a working phone again. It was only four hours of inaccessibility and I didn't like it one bit. I kept thinking, if my 12-year old daughter needed me right now, I wouldn't be able to help her. I hated that feeling.

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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 223: Barry Davis

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 223In this 223rd episode, Mike chats with Barry Davis about his years at The Fan, his time at Sportsnet covering the Blue Jays, why he's no longer there and his Tom Petty tribute band, We Ain't Petty. This episode is exactly 56:28.

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

Barry Davis and Me

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There's a New Tourism Toronto Ad (and it doesn't suck)

Heck, I dig it.

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Corey Hart Boy in the Box is Steve Anthony: Confirmed

A couple of years ago, former MuchMusic VJ and current CP24 Breakfast host Steve Anthony dropped by to chat about his career on the radio and on television. He was engaging, entertaining and energetic. And, as it turns out, he wasn't full of shit.

Early in that episode 123, Steve told a story about working on the radio in Montreal when Corey Hart heard his catchphrase "this is your boy in the box, Steve Anthony, on 98 Hit Radio CKGM". Corey heard this, and according to Steve, it inspired the song Boy in the Box, also the name of Corey's very successful album.

A close friend of Corey Hart heard that episode with Steve and a subsequent episode with Stu Jeffries in which we discussed whether the claim was true and it has been confirmed that Steve Anthony was indeed the boy in the box that inspired Corey Hart.

I will never doubt Steve Anthony again.

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Introducing Toronto's Most Successful Global Stars

You might not realisze it, but Toronto is now home to some of the world's best-known stars. As locals, we might bang on incessantly about whether or not we're a "world-class city", but we can certainly take some crumbs of comfort knowing that our city has produced some of the most successful celebrities, musicians, authors and gamers of this generation.

This article is  a celebration of our fine city's ability to produce world-renowned names from all walks of life.

Drake

Drake - Undeniably one of the biggest names in global music right now, Drake is a bona fide hip-hop/RnB superstar. Brought up in Forest Hill, Drake first gained recognition as an actor in the early 2000s, but his destiny was always to be a rapper. After releasing his debut mixtape, Room for Improvement, he was soon snapped up by Lil Wayne's Young Money Entertainment label and the rest is history. He now has the proud record of the most charted songs as a solo artist in the existence of the Billboard Hot 100.

Daniel Negreanu - One of the world's most successful poker players, Daniel Negreanu is Toronto born and bred. The 42-year-old is now the proud owner of six World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets and two World Poker Tour (WPT) titles. An accomplished tournament and cash game poker ace, Negreanu is now the biggest live tournament poker winner of all time, having amassed an eye-watering $32.6m in prize money. As a competitive team player, Negreanu is sure to be at the next PokerStars Championship in Macau, battling it out for the tens of thousands of dollars on in the City of Dreams complex.

The Weeknd - The Weeknd is a Toronto-born singer, songwriter and record producer who is fast becoming one of the world's leading alternative R&B stars. He came to fame initially on YouTube before releasing a host of mixtapes under his own XO record label. Today, The Weeknd, real name, Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, already has two Grammy Awards and nine Juno Awards to his name. His newest single, "Starboy", charted immediately at number one on the Billboard Hot 100.

Kiefer Sutherland - Although Kiefer Sutherland may well be British born, he moved to Toronto at the age of nine and today is recognised as one of the golden sons of Canadian entertainment. He was inducted into the Canadian Walk of Fame. Sutherland shot to stardom in the Fox drama series 24, spending nine years as the unmistakable Jack Bauer, winning Emmy and Golden Globe awards in the process.

Margaret Atwood - One of Canada's literary greats, 77-year-old Margaret Atwood is a poet, novelist, literary critic and essayist, as well as an environmental activist! However, she's most definitely best known for her work as a novelist, for which she has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize on five separate occasions, winning once. Atwood is now a founder of the Writers' Trust of Canada, a not-for-profit community designed to encourage the next generation of Canadian authors.

A Photo Of Jim Carrey With A Pancake On His Head

Jim Carrey - One of comedy's most charismatic personalities, Jim Carrey grew up in and around the GTA, with time spent in Scarborough and North York. Carrey plied his trade around the Toronto comedy circuit in the late 1970s before making the bold move to Los Angeles that gave his acting career the shot in the arm it needed.

Keanu Reeves - Despite being born in Lebanon, Keanu Reeves spent much of his early teens and adult life growing up in Toronto, where he attended four different high schools across the city. Reeves was more of a sportsman at school and harboured ambitions to become a professional ice hockey player for Canada before injury curtailed those dreams. Nevertheless, Reeves eventually made the same move as Jim Carrey to Los Angeles at the age of 20. It wasn't long before he became a household name.

Deadmau5 - DJ, Joel Zimmerman has lived in downtown Toronto for some time now and has gained huge recognition for developing the musical genre of progressive house. He's received six Grammy Award nominations for his work to date and has teamed up with many other world-renowned DJs such as Kaskade and Wolfgang Gartner on more than one occasion. His live presence is fascinating as his identity is masked on-stage, which has always created an air of mystery for fans.

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Dream Big: Engineering Our World

I took my three oldest kids to the Ontario Science Centre yesterday. That's where you'll find the OMNIMAX® Theatre, where the giant screen is a dome with 13,000 watts of sound being delivered from 44 speakers. It's really something else.

We saw "Dream Big: Engineering Our World", an incredibly inspiring film about how creative and compassionate engineers improve the world we live in. Several stories are shared, each one more inspiring than the last. And as an added bonus, it's narrated by Jeff Bridges.

20170304_115407_HDR

If all goes according to plan, I'll end up with an engineer in the family.... or four. The key is to dream big.

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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 222: Clint "Bubba" O'Neil

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 222In this 222nd episode, Mike chats with Clint "Bubba" O'Neil about his years at Sportsnet, working with Hebsy at CHCH, the bankruptcy debacle and being black in Canadian sports media. This episode is exactly 1:07:46.

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

Clint "Bubba" O'Neil

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NAFTA is actually good for the American economy

One of President Donald Trump’s key plans was to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), since he believes it poorly benefits the USA. This is not the first time we’ve heard that NAFTA was a bad idea. Congress argued against it before it was implemented in 1994. Though the main principle would be beneficial for the three participating countries (Canada, Mexico, and the USA); fears were aimed at companies moving their factories abroad and thus eliminating jobs.

To some extent, this has happened. Automotive companies like GM, Ford, and BMW have opted for building their factories in Mexico as manual labor is cheaper, generating more jobs. This affected the US – though not as much as initially thought – and Canada, which have reduced their automobile production from 15.8 million and 2.7 million to 11.4 million and 2.4 million, respectively. 

Furthermore, because taxes on imports and exports between the three countries have lowered, it is cheaper to manufacture items abroad and then import them into the US than produce them in the US in the first place. This has led to the loss of manufacturing jobs that Congress feared. However, other industries, such as the trucking industry, have benefitted from NAFTA. Truckdrivingjobs.com states that NAFTA has caused the trucking industry to draw in more than $89 billion dollars in revenue. With further deregulation and reduction in taxes, this could increase even more.

Nevertheless, because of President Trump’s eagerness to change the rules of play on NAFTA, this may not be possible and the trucking industry would be affected. By increasing taxes, truckers may gain an essentially insignificant net positive for Canadian and Mexican goods being imported. Truckers would then exchange their goods at the border rather than enter the US, where the exchange rate between currencies would cost them more for goods and services. The economic repercussions could then affect not only truck drivers but other industries reliant on them.

Even though President Trump insists NAFTA has been detrimental to the economy, the opposite is actually true. Though jobs have been lost to cheaper labor, production of American cars in Mexico has reduced the cost of manufacturing automobiles; which in turn has allowed the US to compete with other markets like China.  By importing cars from Mexico rather than China, the Mexican economy booms, cars are cheaper to purchase, and China is denied another market in which to trade its goods.

Though the current iteration of NAFTA grants more benefits to Mexico and Canada, the US should not try to levy a new agreement completely in its favor. Maintaining the current status quo is necessary to aid our neighboring countries further develop their economies while goods are kept low cost.

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