My 2 Cents

Hip Dis at Junos

I just watched the Juno Awards. As I type, Sarah McLachlan is actually still performing. It was a pretty good show with a brilliant tribute to Leonard Cohen by Feist. I don't know where she's been, but I'm glad she's back.

A short while ago, The Tragically Hip won group of the year, and Rob Baker and Paul Langlois accepted the award. While Paul was speaking, they started to play him off. Thankfully, Paul ignored that and continued speaking. Then, just as he was about to talk about Gord Downie, they cut his mic.

That's right, as Paul Langlois was about to speak about Gord Downie, the Juno Awards cut his microphone so we couldn't hear a word.

If the purpose of the Juno Awards is to celebrate Canadian music, and you have two members of The Tragically Hip on stage after the year they've had, it is not okay to cut their mic. Consider for a moment what this band means to this country, and the thoughts that are with Gord.

Who makes this decision? Who decides there's no time for such things but has Bryan Adams and Russell Peters awkwardly vamping a short time later?

Such bullshit from CTV and the Juno Awards. We can now collectively wonder what Paul was about to say about Gord and his battle.

Paul said it best as the Junos played them off. "This is our arena, not yours."

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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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Spoiler Etiquette Revisited

In the season four episode of The Simpsons "Marge in Chains" Mayor Quimby spoils the twist of The Crying Game. The episode originally aired on May 6, 1993, less than eight months after the movie's release.

From a Simpsons podcast I subscribe to I learned about how Gene Siskel spoiled this same twist when reviewing the movie for Siskel & Ebert's If We Picked the Winners for 1992. You can watch that episode here. Roger Ebert was none too pleased because he knew the secret was key to enjoying the film. I'm on team Ebert. [side note: man do I miss Siskel & Ebert]

Today, spoilers are everywhere. I was watching a CBC series on Tuesday night that contained a very specific Game of Thrones spoiler. Game of Thrones is a show I haven't seen a minute of but would one day like to view in its entirety. I already know too much.

When Roz Weston appeared on my podcast he spoke about revealing a Grey's Anatomy spoiler the morning after it first aired. He simply doesn't care if he spoils it for you because you could have seen it the previous night. Personally, I think that's a selfish move.

I'm fighting a losing battle. I'm still hesitant to spoil a plot twist in The Usual Suspects, a movie released over twenty years ago, because I don't want to ruin it for anyone who might one day see it for the first time. I want you to enjoy it the way I enjoyed it, completely spoiler free.

Do you follow a code when it comes to spoiler etiquette? Is there a period of time after which you think it's fair game? Are you pro-spoil or anti-spoil?

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McDonald's Makes Nutty Choice

I have four children and so far there's no evidence any of them have a tree nut allergy. Two are quite young, so there's still time for such an allergy to manifest itself, but I'm hopeful we've avoided it.

I do have a nephew, however, who is allergic to peanuts. It means when we host a party we have to buy the ice cream that is completely nut free, and when we bake cookies or a cake, all labels must be read! A McDonald's Happy Meal, you'd figure, would be a safe choice.

McDonald's Canada has added a Skor McFlurry to its menu, and that means they can no longer be sure their other products have not "come in contact with peanuts, tree nuts or other allergens".

In my mind, this is a poor trade. McDonald's adds one more flavour of McFlurry to its menu and the cost is telling every family with a child with a nut allergy that their restaurant is no longer safe. Based strictly on my unscientific sniff test, it hardly seems worth it.

In fact, I think it's nuts.

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My Thoughts on Shootouts that Decide Hockey Championships

I have a serious issue with hockey championships being decided by a shootout. Last night, most of us watched a thrilling gold medal game decided by a shootout. Yes, we lost to the USA in that shootout and ended up with the silver medal. Here's why that sucks.

When you lose in a shootout, it doesn't feel as bad. Had the US scored in OT, it would have felt like we lost the hockey game. This just feels like we lost a skills competition.

But, when you win in a shootout, it doesn't feel as good. It just doesn't. You want it to feel like it felt when Crosby scored against the US in 2010. Winning in a shootout means you won, but not in the fair way you wanted to win. It takes a lot of the shine off.

So if this method of deciding a championship dulls the edges, making the lows feel less low and the highs feel less high, it's taken the best part of sports out of the mix. As a lifelong fan of sports, that sucks.

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The Problem with Chief Wahoo

Cleveland swept the BoSox and will face our Jays in the ALCS. It all starts Friday night.

I've been intentionally referring to their team as "Cleveland" and not by the nickname "Indians" because I'm not comfortable with it. I know the story of Louis Sockalexis and understand it's meant as a tribute, I personally just choose not to use it.

The bigger issue is Chief Wahoo. I grew up with Cleveland in our AL East division and watching Major League, and Chief Wahoo always seemed wrong, but in my adult years he seems outright offensive. Chief Wahoo is a racial caricature.

Cleveland_Indians_logo.svg

Even if Cleveland doesn't change their nickname, the time to retire Chief Wahoo as their logo has long passed.

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In Defense of Homerism in Pro Sports

On May 16, I sat down with Marty York for a lengthy conversation. You can hear our entire chat in episode 174. He had some rather strong opinions about homerism in sports.

When it comes to our local sports media, I believe he has a valid concern. Just look at the current ownership landscape:

  • Blue Jays - owned by Rogers, which owns Sportsnet
  • Argonauts - owned by Bell which owns TSN
  • Maple Leafs - owned by Rogers and Bell
  • Raptors - owned by Rogers and Bell
  • TFC - owned by Rogers and Bell
  • Marlies - owned by Rogers and Bell

It would be prudent to be aware of these inherent biases when absorbing content from these sources. That's just sensible behaviour. We've been on high alert since Mike Wilner's suspension, and you can kick that up a notch following Bob McCown's admission Bob Elliott was banned from Prime Time Sports for something he wrote about the Blue Jays.

Where Marty York lost me was when he attacked the fans for homerism. He pities the suckers who collect at Jurassic Park to take in a Raptors playoff game, or the thousands sporting Jays caps and believing they can repeat as AL East champions.

Sports has one purpose, and that's to entertain. Although it sometimes doesn't feel like it, it's supposed to be fun. Rooting with your city for the home team is a huge part of the experience. I've always been a homer, passionately rooting for Toronto's teams and passing on that same love to my children. I'm a homer, but I'm a realist.

That means I'll tune out when the Leafs are just awful with no redeeming qualities, and tune back in at the beginning of the next season. If prices are too high, I stop buying tickets, and watch on television instead. My collection of paraphernalia is minimal. But make no mistake about it, I want the Jays, Leafs, Raptors, TFC, Argos and Marlies to win.

I think it's fantastic when fans collect to watch playoff games. I love the fact the Jays and Raptors were both two wins away from the finals. I can't wait to see Auston Matthews in a Maple Leafs uniform next year. I'm even excited to see the Argos play their opener at BMO Field later this month.

Call me a homer. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.

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The Amber Alert TV Alarm: Hearing What You Want to Hear

Apparently, if you criticize last night's Amber Alert in any way, you aren't thinking of the children. There's no middle ground. The cool thing to do this morning is to attack anyone who doesn't universally praise the Amber Alert communication process. You're either behind the method in which the Amber Alert spread last night, or you're an asshole.

Nonsense. Here's my little story and how it was grossly misinterpreted because some people only hear what they want to hear.

I watched 60 Minutes profile our Prime Minister. They misidentified Kim Cattrall as Maggie Trudeau, which was fun. Kim even replied to my tweet about it, which was pretty cool.

Then I watched the Raptors blow it at home against the Rockets. That was frustrating. Our sweet home court winning streak came to an end in a game we once led by 18.

Then, because my wife was knitting a blanket for our unborn child and I wasn't ready to turn in yet, I tuned in the Democrat Debate on CNN. That's what I was watching when the Amber Alert came on.

It was a scroll that crawled vertically at a snail's pace, and it was accompanied by the loudest sound to ever emanate from my television. It was far, far louder than the volume set on my TV, comparable to the smoke alarm. The tone was a piercing, frightening alarm that scared the shit out of me. Because the scroll was so slow, I actually went to Twitter to find out what was happening.

And yes, I tweeted about it. Because the alarm didn't just happen once, it happened again a few minutes later, and that's when I shut off the television for the night because my nerves couldn't handle another round. Here's my tweet on the subject.

Some told me I was being selfish, after all, a child was in potential danger. Someone asked me if I'd feel the same way if it was my child. Others accused me of complaining my precious shows were being interrupted. Another just replied with "that's a brutal tweet you should be ashamed. Unfollow".

That's right, because I don't think you need a tone that harsh and ridiculously loud to share an Amber Alert, I should be ashamed of myself. I'm not against the Amber Alert, I think interrupting shows for a time sensitive message of importance is a great idea, I just don't think my cable provider should blast such a jarring sound at that volume into my home. I believe there's a better, more sensible way.

After all, nothing would get my attention like a brick through the living room window, but I don't think that's a good idea, either. Sometimes, we need to use common sense, even when we're thinking of the children.

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The Bullshitiest of the TD Canada Trust Fee Increases

I have a bank account with TD Canada Trust, so I've just been informed of a number of fee increases they're introducing March 1, 2016. I received a similar letter from Rogers a few weeks ago, but this is about the bullshitiest of the TD Canada Trust fee increases.

td

If you cancel an Interac e-Transfer, you'll be charged $5. Interac e-Transfers are a digital means of emailing money, and TD Canada Trust charges $1.50 for the convenience. I'm unaware of any costs associated with cancelling one... this $5 charge smells like bullshit to me.

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The Coin Flip Debate and How it Reminds me of Frozen

I didn't watch a minute of NFL football during the regular season, but when a playoff game is close in the fourth quarter, I like to tune in. Last night, Green Bay forced overtime with an Aaron Rodgers Hail Mary pass to Jeff Janis. If you missed it, watch it here.

In NFL OT, it's vital you win the coin toss. Winning the coin toss gives you first crack at scoring a touchdown and ending the game. It's sudden death, if you reach the endzone...

The ref showed the coin showing heads, so Rodgers called tails. Apparently, Rodgers has a coin flip strategy to choose the opposite of what it's showing before the flip. But when the ref flipped the coin, the coin did not flip. Check it out below.

View post on imgur.com

The ref decided to flip it again, this time showing tails. But he didn't let Rodgers call it again. He went with his original call, when the coin was showing heads. As a result, Arizona won the toss, and subsequently the game.

Rodgers feels he should have been able to re-call heads or tails when the ref decided to do a second flip. This is one of those great debates that will feed sports radio across the continent. Ponder it for a second... it's a great one.

And it reminds me of a 5-second scene in Frozen after Elsa froze everything. Two guys are stacking firewood and arguing about whether the wood should be stacked with the bark down or up. This is based on an actual debate in Norway that gripped the nation. Read this article in the New York Times for a little background. Norway seems split on proper firewood stacking technique.

If the ref feels a second coin flip is fair, shouldn't the person calling heads or tails have a chance to call it again? Or, as many are arguing, should the original call stand?

In my humble opinion, Rodgers should have been allowed to call it again. And firewood should be stacked bark down.

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