1 Company Owns All English Newspapers in Canada Sans 2

One Company Owns All English Newspapers in Canada Sans TwoPostmedia is buying Quebecor's 175 English-language newspapers, including the Toronto Sun. That means Postmedia owns just about every English-language newspaper in the country, except for the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail.

I realize newspapers are dying and the future is digital, but there's an inherent danger in having every paper in the country outside of Toronto owned by a single company. This makes a strong and independent CBC all the more important.

It's not much better on television where the typical news source options are either owned by Rogers or Bell. Again, this is why it's important we continue to fund the CBC, my preferred source for television news.

Postmedia, by the way, is picking up all 175 newspapers for a paltry $316 million. You'd think the Toronto Sun alone would be worth more than that. Is anyone else surprised by this?

McDonald's Should Cut Charles Ramsey a Cheque

McDonald's Should Cut Charles Ramsey a ChequeIn 2005, McDonald's promised to pay rappers $5 every time a song that mentioned Big Macs got air time. I don't think they ever had to cut a cheque.

I'd like to see them send a cheque to Charles Ramsey, the man who helped rescue Amanda Berry from his neighbour's house in Cleveland. Ramsey managed to drop the names McDonald's and Big Mac during his 911 call and tv interview.

Here's his amazing 911 call in which he managed to drop the name McDonald's.

And here he is dropping the name McDonald's again in a television interview.

But the best line Charles drops in that interview is this:

I knew something was wrong when a little pretty white girl ran into a black man's arms. Something is wrong here. Dead giveaway.

My Thoughts on Pope Francis

PopeI'm not a fan of the over-the-top press this week's papal conclave has garnered. Like so much baggage, it's overdone pomp and circumstance for a bunch of old men to elect another old man to lead the Catholic church, a man-made institution designed to control and oppress. No thanks, I'm not interested.

Pope Francis, however, does now wield a great deal of influence over millions of people on this little planet we share, so I can't ignore this as a historical event. I just hope he makes a few significant adjustments to the status quo:

  • Permit Catholics to use birth control
  • Give Catholic women the same rights as Catholic men
  • Accept homosexuality and stop stigmatizing it as sinful
  • Properly deal with the vast sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests throughout the world

I may think it's all bullshit, but ignoring the power of the church does nothing to help over 1-billion members who have drank the kool-aid. Pope Francis needs to drag this church kicking and screaming into the 21st century.

Here's hoping he's up to the challenge.

Slow News Day?

cbcMy go-to source for news is the CBC. Sometimes it's CBC Radio One, sometimes it's their Andoid app for news and other times it starts at

Just now, after looking at the clock in the top right corner of the screen and seeing it's almost 5pm, I popped over to to see what's going on in the world. Here's what I saw:


Either it's a slow news day or CBC has their priorities messed up. Personally, I'm happy for William and Kate and wish them well as they start their family, but I'm not sure Kate's pregnancy is so news worthy that it has to dominate the front page. Good on 'em, but I don't really care.

And this is Canada where winters can actually be cold and snowy. Learning Environment Canada thinks we'll have a typical winter isn't at all news worthy. In fact, it's pretty much the opposite of news. Everything is typical here... no abnormalities to speak off. Carry on!

Life is certainly good when the top news items are that a healthy 30-year old newlywed is preggers and the usual Canadian winter may return. Enjoy this while it lasts.

The Globe Tries to Close Pandora's Box Once More

newspaperI try not to do this too often, but I'm going to start this entry by sharing something I wrote almost four years ago. I called this How Should Newspapers Make Money Online? and I originally published it on February 17, 2009.

I actually feel sorry for the newspaper industry. I don't know about you, but I read almost all of my news now online and I don't pay a cent for any of it. I want it all, I want it instantly and I want it for free.

When people Google Andy Barrie's name, looking for information as to when he'll return to CBC Radio One, my blog entry on the subject is ranked #2. One of the few mainstream press articles on the subject belongs to the Globe and Mail, only they've hidden their article behind a form. You can't read the Globe article on Andy Barrie's leave of absence without buying 30 days access to it for $4.95 + tax. You can buy four articles for 30 days for $17.95 + tax.

At first this angered me. I don't want to spend over $5 just to read a single article online. The web is about articles being online forever and for free, right? And isn't $5 steep for a single article to be available to me for only 30 days?

I don't really know how newspapers are supposed to make money online in this day and age. I know I didn't pay the $5, and I'm not sure how many people out there would. In fact, just having the article offline will likely push people to other newspapers.

How should newspapers earn an honest buck in this age of the Internet, or are they S.O.L?

I still feel sorry for the newspaper industry, so I don't fault the Globe for giving the paywall another shot. The Globe and Mail has just launched Globe Unlimited. Here are the highlights:

There is no additional cost for Globe Unlimited for those who have a five- or six-day home delivery newspaper subscription. For those with partial week subscriptions, including Friday/Saturday and Saturday only, we are offering Globe Unlimited for a substantial discount at $4.99 per month.

For those who prefer to read online only, we are offering a trial subscription to Globe Unlimited for 99¢ for the first month, after which the cost will be $19.99 per month.

Casual visitors to will still have access to 10 free items each month (including articles, videos, slide shows and other features), after which they will need to subscribe to Globe Unlimited to see more. The Globe homepage, section fronts, videos, stock quotes and Letters to the Editor will all remain free and accessible to the public, and will not count toward the monthly limit.

This model is definitely better than their previous paywall model, but will people be willing to spend $19.99 per month for something that was completely free until yesterday?

Be honest, would you spend that kind of money to access quality content online?

Sad Bizarre Twist of Fate for Jessica Redfield

Jessica RedfieldJessica Redfield was an aspiring sportscaster who tweeted as @JessicaRedfield and wrote for BustedCoverage. Sadly, she was one of the 12 people shot dead at a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises last night in a suburb of Denver, Colorado.

In a tragically bizarre twist, Jessica Redfield's last blog entry was about how she narrowly escaped being shot at our very own Eaton Centre shooting in June.

I can't get this odd feeling out of my chest. This empty, almost sickening feeling won't go away. I noticed this feeling when I was in the Eaton Center in Toronto just seconds before someone opened fire in the food court. An odd feeling which led me to go outside and unknowingly out of harm‘s way. It's hard for me to wrap my mind around how a weird feeling saved me from being in the middle of a deadly shooting.

What started off as a trip to the mall to get sushi and shop, ended up as a day that has forever changed my life. I was on a mission to eat sushi that day, and when I'm on a mission, nothing will deter me. When I arrived at the Eaton Center mall, I walked down to the food court and spotted a sushi restaurant. Instead of walking in, sitting down and enjoying sushi, I changed my mind, which is very unlike me, and decided that a greasy burger and poutine would do the trick. I rushed through my dinner. I found out after seeing a map of the scene, that minutes later a man was standing in the same spot I just ate at and opened fire in the food court full of people. Had I had sushi, I would've been in the same place where one of the victims was found.

My receipt shows my purchase was made at 6:20 pm. After that purchase I said I felt funny. It wasn't the kind of funny you feel after spending money you know you shouldn't have spent. It was almost a panicky feeling that left my chest feeling like something was missing. A feeling that was overwhelming enough to lead me to head outside in the rain to get fresh air instead of continuing back into the food court to go shopping at SportChek. The gunshots rung out at 6:23. Had I not gone outside, I would've been in the midst of gunfire.

Luka Rocco Magnotta's Digital Trail

Luka MagnottaAt this hour, police are hunting for Rocco Magnotta, also known as Luka Magnotta, in connection with the torso found in Montreal yesterday and the body parts mailed to political parties. Luka Magnotta is a male model and porn star, originally from Toronto but now living in Montreal.

This story is just developing, but Luka Magnotta has left quite the digital trail. His site is currently offline (it's back), likely crushed by the traffic this type of sensational story generates, but his YouTube channel is up, containing tame videos like this one.

What's far less tame are the videos he allegedly made of him killing, mutilating, dismembering and having sex with the dead bodies of cats and kittens. One such video is titled "1 Boy 2 Kittens Video" and other is "Vacuum Kitten Killer Hunted Edition". There's no way I'm linking to either of these, but I will embed a video about the search for Luka Magnotta, the serial kitten killer.

More recently, it seems Luka Magnotta has progressed from kitten killing to murdering people. In a video titled "1 Lunatic 1 Ice Pick Video", a young man in a purple hoodie literally kills a man with an ice pick, before committing acts of necrophillia and cannibalisim. A Facebook group ForGreatJustice believes this snuff film to be from Luka Magnotta.

And that leads us to today and one of the more bizarre news stories to come out of this country. Magnotta, who hasn't been seen for several days, is the prime suspect in this investigation, and he may be tough to track down. He once wrote this article on "How To Disappear Completely And Never Be Found". He failed to follow his own advice, however, giving himself a week instead of the self-recommended four months.

When making the decision to disappear, it is very important to understand that this is not a process that can be successfully accomplished overnight. For best results under normal circumstances, a minimum of four months is really necessary to successfully carry out the heroic actions necessary to leave your old life behind. This is certainly not an undertaking to be entered into lightly - be completely sure of yourself before you commit to this.

That's quite the digital trail... Here's a SUN TV interview with him from five years ago when there were rumours of him dating Karla Homolka. It goes without saying, if you see Luka Magnotta, call 911.

High Park Castle Playground Burns in Fire

fireIn the wee hours of this St. Patrick's Day morning, the High Park wooden playground burned. The fire was set on purpose. That's right, arson burned this castle to the ground.

When my kids were younger, they loved that playground. Here's a photo I took during the summer of 2007.

High Park Playground

I just have one question: who would purposely burn down a wooden castle in a popular park that brings joy to thousands of kids each summer?

The Last WWI Vet Has Passed Away

wwI vet diesFlorence Green has died. She was the world's last surviving First World War veteran. Florence would have turned 111 in a couple of weeks.

She signed up to the Women's Royal Air Force (WRAF) 93 years ago in September 1918, when she was aged just 17. She was the last surviving person to have served in WWI following the death of British-born sailor Claude Choules in Australia last year.


Canada's last WWI veteran, John Babcock, passed away last year at the age of 110.

With Florence Green's passing, they're all gone. Still, we will never forget.

Mountain Dew vs. the Mouse

justiceIt's tough to skip over a headline that references Pepsi and mouse carcasses. Pepsi has an interesting defense in a case from a guy who claims he found a mouse in his Mountain Dew.

Pepsi Co., facing a lawsuit from a man who claims to have found a mouse in his Mountain Dew can, has an especially creative, if disgusting, defense: their soda would have dissolved a dead mouse before the man could have found it. An Illinois man sued Pepsi in 2009 after he claims he "spat out  the soda to reveal a dead mouse," the Madison County Record reports. He claims he sent the mouse to Pepsi, which then "destroyed" the remains after he allowed them to test it, according to his complaint. Most shudder-worthy, however, is that Pepsi's lawyers also found experts to testify, based on the state of the remains sent to them that, "the mouse would have dissolved in the soda had it been in the can from the time of its bottling until the day the plaintiff drank it," according to the Record. (It would have become a "jelly-like substance," according to Pepsi, adds LegalNewsline.)

On a related note, I no longer drink any pop or pop-like beverage in the house. I used to swill a lot of Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi, but no more. I won't buy it. I quit.

Jelly-like substance be damned!

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Next

Want more Toronto Mike blog entries? Visit the archives.