Friday Open Mike

Welcome to this week's Friday 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.

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Jim

I was offered Leafs tickets yesterday from someone I play beer league with, and said thanks but no thanks, figured why waste my free time witnessing this ugly season whither away? Question is, am I in the minority at this point? If you were offered free Leafs tickets, would you take'em?

March 13, 2015 @ 9:08 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Jim

I was offered tickets to see the Lightning later this month and I took them so I can take my daughter. She's never been to a Leafs game. I'm actually psyched about it.

March 13, 2015 @ 9:16 AM

Stan

Is it me or do radio guys have overly enlarged egos?

March 13, 2015 @ 9:33 AM

Gump

I got offered 4 tiks to the game on Monday against the Islanders!
My 8 year old was unbelievably happy! And my wife got to see a hockey game (and the ACC) for the first time in her life (living in Toronto the entire time). The $21 9 oz merlot helped.
It was a very good game, and a chance to see Tavares.

March 13, 2015 @ 9:41 AM

Lyle Lanley

@Stan

Fandom corrupts all!

March 13, 2015 @ 9:45 AM

Jenkins

@Jim

I got free tickets to Monday's game against the Islanders. It was an exciting game that we ultimately lost (which, I've accepted, is for the greater good at this point). So no complaints at all.

March 13, 2015 @ 9:47 AM

Anonymous

Free Leafs tickets I understand, I'm more interested in those who pay to watch them now. Would anyone here pay for Leafs tickets the rest of this season?

March 13, 2015 @ 10:13 AM

Sarah

How would you restructure AM 640 and make it into a real radio station again? It's become such a joke, none of the shows get any substantial ratings and the constant shilling just has me turning the dial.

March 13, 2015 @ 10:23 AM

argie

@Sarah
Stafford and Oakley's shows are better than any of the crap you would hear on CBC or Talk 1010.

March 13, 2015 @ 10:51 AM

hector

That may be true Argie, but their ratings are not that great. The station needs a better and stronger identity.

March 13, 2015 @ 11:13 AM

Cheryl

My Habs lost last night and my Coyotes lost last night. No good. My Habs were winning as well, but they blew it big time. No, I wouldn't want free Leafs tickets. Well, maybe if they were playing my Habs or Coyotes, but I get more out of a game by listening to the internet radio. As for radio, I only listen to radio on the internet for sports events, baseball, football, basketball and hockey. Radio has sure gone down the tubes lately and now I know what Dean Blundell is like. I will never like him even though my trainer likes him, but my trainer isn't surprised I don't like him.

March 13, 2015 @ 11:17 AM

Glen

Are the new Apple watches water or cold resistant? Like so many products we buy they are often designed and tested in Southern California not Canada.


Imagine if see someone wore one of those watches during the cold weather this past February. Would it have survived?


Also what happens if I drop it on the floor? Do I still have a functioning Apple watch afterwards? I know if I drop my watch I'm currently wearing nothing would happen.

March 13, 2015 @ 11:17 AM

Douglas

Mike, Mike, Mike...your daughter has been unscathed in life so far. Why break that record of perfection? At least she'll get to see the source of your former lifelong frustration, er, support, and understand why you no longer give a damn. You might be able to explain that the locals are trying to beat Buffalo to the bottom of the standings, but I think they'll fail at that, too. Buffalo has pretty much a lock on the basement for 2014-15.

I'll be at the Lightning game, too. Sometimes it's nice to be the client for a change. Even if it is an NHL game at the ACC.

March 13, 2015 @ 11:20 AM

Nigel Trousershrapnel

@Argie,
Would love to have Stafford for the morning drive slot or the afternoon drive slot. I only catch little bits of his show in his current spot. He is by far the best on Toronto talk radio.

March 13, 2015 @ 11:51 AM

GUNTer

my friend just got two tickets to the game on the 23rd (maybe vs. Minnesota? cant remember) - anyhoo she offered me one for 70 bucks and i took her up on it.
i will always go to a game for 70 bucks - no matter how shitty the team is.
i will evil eye all the 'booers' too. i dont believe in booing.

March 13, 2015 @ 3:50 PM

Glen

I'm very happy that the Ontario Liberal government has decided to allow beer and wine in grocery stores.

What people don't seem to understand is how many jobs this will create. Grocery chains like Loblaws will need to refurbish their freezers/stores to accommodate beer and wine (those commercial refrigeration specialists make good wages by the way) , drivers (teamsters?) will be needed to transport the booze across Ontario, warehouse space built/leased,, advertising on TV, radio, newspapers, etc, etc, etc
When was was the last time The Beer Store had a hiring blitz? The answer is never. They have roughly 6000 employees and those numbers weren't going to change very much. In fact with increased mechanization they would likely have gone down. If your a monopoly there's no need to hire more people to improve customer service or the shopping experience. I thought they would have made a token effort to hire Target employees when those lay offs were announced to placate the provincial government. Nope. Sears Canada did though.

I can see entrepreneurs opening up new craft breweries across this province. No longer will they have to deal with the Byzantine and unfair Beer Store practices. They can sell to whomever they wish.

Competition is great isn't it?


This is wonderful news. Good for Ontario.

March 13, 2015 @ 6:21 PM

Rick C in Oakville

@Glen. We have had a number of new Beer Stores open here in Oakville, and it is all young 25-30 age crowd. They are super helpful, so maybe the beer store has begun stepping up their customer service game, at least out here.
I would still take a ticket (and even pay 70 bucks for a ticket) to the Leafs. I have yet to see a game at the ACC, actually have never been to any event there.
Beautiful night, sitting on my deck right now, enjoying my 2nd Guinness, getting in shape for St. Paddy's Day. I'm a Scot but March 17th we all are a bit Irish. Hope the weather holds.
Maybe AM640 needs to rotate Stafford and Oakley, as Stafford time slot is just not in my listening schedule. One thing 1010 has done is mix it up with guest hosts and it is a break from hearing only the one hosts voice for over 3 hours.

March 13, 2015 @ 6:38 PM

Anonymous

Oh it's nothing: Canada’s embassy in Jordan, which is run by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s handpicked ambassador and former top bodyguard, is being linked in news reports to an unfolding international terrorism and spy scandal.

The federal government refused to comment Friday on multiple Turkish media reports that a foreign spy allegedly working for Canadian intelligence – and arrested in Turkey for helping three young British girls travel to Syria to join Islamic State militants – was working for the Canadian Embassy in Amman, Jordan.

March 13, 2015 @ 6:46 PM

Rick C in Oakville

Wanted to add that a large number of real estate listings that just popped up in my neighborhood, not sure if it means anything, but haven't seen this many ever.

March 13, 2015 @ 6:59 PM

Anonymous

Reports link Islamic State recruiter to Canadian Embassy in Jordan

By Jason Fekete, Ottawa Citizen & Lee Berthiaume, Ottawa Citizen & Ian MacLeod, Ottawa Citizen, Ottawa Citizen March 13, 2015 7:32 PM

March 13, 2015 @ 7:55 PM

Irvine

@Glen

For your own edification coming from someone who has lived in a place with private liquor..........

1. It will mean more jobs in refrigeration. Not likely. In Alberta, the Superstore runs it's own series of liquor stores. They have no coolers at all. All their liquor is sold at room temperature so they can have lower prices.

2. Advertising: Again, in Alberta I cannot remember seeing any TV or hearing any radio advertising. On occasion, there was advertising in the Calgary Herald for liquor. That said, print advertising is in rapid decline.

3. Increase in freight: Maybe. Same volume is sold just it's delivered to more locations so the deliveries are smaller & often made with a small truck (with drivers who make lower wages).

4. Increase in craft breweries: Alberta, which has private liquor, has a microbrewery industry which is remarkably smaller than BC & Ontario. Until recently you could count the number of breweries on one hand. A recent change to government regulations has helped spur on the industry, not "private liquor". What you need to understand is that with private liquor many vendors will NOT stock marginal products. No volume. No profit. The only store in Alberta which comes close to having a beer selection like the LCBO is the CO OP (a Calgary grocer cooperative).

5. A better shopping experience (customer service). Debatable at best.

6. Lower prices. False. Alcohol prices in Ontario are, in my experience, cheaper than almost all the stores in Alberta & BC. In fact, when I visit Waterloo Region, I often buy Alberta & BC beer for LOWER prices in Ontario (usually about a dollar a case lower).

That said, I'm all for private liquor even if it costs more. The reasons are simple. There are WAY more stores (you can walk to get liquor) and they're open later. Want a 6 pack at 2 AM? It's very doable (might cost you more though). You aren't chained to the LCBO or Beer Store.

In the past 10 years I have lived in Waterloo Ontario, Edmonton, Alberta, Calgary Alberta and Vancouver BC so I've experienced private liquor, mixed market liquor (BC) and Ontario. Those are my real observations & they're not from "afar"

March 13, 2015 @ 9:06 PM

Glen

@Irvine


There were 40 craft breweries in Ontario in 2004. Currently there's 47 even under this stupid. Soviet system. I expect that to grow over the next few years. Give entrepreneurs the freedom to create their own craft brews and sell to whoever they want. If Sobeys won't stock it I'll go to Superstore or No Frills or the Beer Store if they're up to the challenge. Whatever. That's what competition is all about.
But today I only have ONE choice.
Unfortunately we have minimum pricing laws in this province because Ontarians don't trust themselves and are still Victorian in nature. Maybe prices won't come down HOWEVER give me a better shopping experience (extended hours, friendly, knowledgeable staff........or here's a thought sell snack foods at the counter). The Liberal government recently started online casino gambling through the provincial lottery, why not be able to buy a bottle of Scotch online?

There are many opportunities here.

March 13, 2015 @ 9:41 PM

Irvine

@Glen.

You actually have two choices, the LCBO and the Beer Store. That said, what makes you think that grocery stores will carry a wide selection? They're low margin businesses & they'll carry product that moves. Are they going product from the new Elora Brewery? Probably not.

Let's talk real life shopping in private liquor:

Store A. A large food chain. Booze is cheap but warm. Staff is there to take your money. Knowledge low,
Store B. Upon entering you're greeted with a wall of photos of criminals who have ripped the store off. Store open late. Customer service exists of a guy whose biggest concern is that you leave your backpack on the ground before you enter the cooler. Knowledge: zero
Store C: Small, hole in the wall. Evening guy, complete with baseball bat by his side, could pass for the Sgt @ Arms in the Hells Angels. His response to "is this beer any good" is "it takes like horse piss". Low prices.
Store D: Open 'til 2 AM. Staff is reasonably knowledgeable but a 6 pack of any typical microbrew is around $17 dollars for a 6 pack. Weekends the store has a large security guard "because of late night problems".
Store E (CO OP). Great selection for beer & wine. Great staff on par with the LCBO. A long drive if you don't live near a store.
Store F: I'll say the name (Willow Park). A massive collection of liquor & wine complete with on-site wine sommelier who offer tastings, etc. Best liquor outlet in the province. Number of locations: 3. Calgary Metro size: 5100 sq km. Metro Toronto size: 5900 sq km. Care to drive 45 minutes for a good beer selection?

Like I said in the last post, I am 100% for private liquor. I can't imagine going back to the Ontario system; ever. But, I'm not some partisan robot & I tell it like I've experienced it. And it's been 8 years now. The only real thing that makes private liquor good is the convenience.

And as for microbrewery beer. At age 17 (nearly 30 years ago), I found a bottle cap in the Elora Gorge by a fire pit. It had a boars head on it and I was intrigued. Research led me to a small Kitchener brewery named "Brick". It was day 1 of my fascination with microbrewery beer. There was a time when I couldn't find a micro on the shelf of the LCBO I hadn't tried. Whether it was Great Lakes Brewing, Upper Canada, F&M, Old Credit, etc, etc, etc, etc I'd tried it. I am & always will be a "beer snob".

The success of a microbrewery is more about their product than it is distribution. The average private liquor store operates on a low margin and simply isn't going to carry anything out of the "common product". That's a fact. Private or public.

FYI, I'm not disagreeing with you or trying to start a war. I'm simply pointing out the reality as I LIVED it. Zehrs might start selling beer but it's unlikely it's going to carry "Mount Forest Lager". It's a mass retailer & they're not about niche products.

Cheers. And let me recommend:

Village Brewery in Calgary
Grizzly Paw in Canmore
Bowen Island Brewery (all products and damn cheap).
Mt Begbie Brewery (Revelstoke BC)
Fernie Brewery
Tree Brewery
Howe Sound Brewery

March 13, 2015 @ 10:58 PM

Phil (Capt. Rtd)

Congrats on your recent pronunciation shift! Thank you.
Mart'n. Butt'n
Well done.

March 13, 2015 @ 11:08 PM

Cheryl

Not a good sports day yesterday. My Suns lost and the Raptors won again. Good thing the Leafs lost. My Orioles also lost to the Jays. This sucks. Anyway, hope my Orioles, Habs and Coyotes all win today. It's about time my Habs got out of their slump. I'm sick of the slump.

March 14, 2015 @ 7:55 AM

Glen

@Irvine


Last thought on the subject.


My NoFrills sells a locally made honey that sits on the shelf next to the jams and peanut butters made by the multinationals.

Why wouldn't they also stock a local Niagara microbrew as well?


The glass isn't always half empty. Have faith.

March 14, 2015 @ 8:57 AM

Andrew

I just go buy mine at the microbrewery by my house in Niagara-On-The-Lake.
Silversmith Brewery or Oast House. You can buy Oast house in some LCBO's, but not Silversmith. In order to have stock on the shelves in the LCBO you to have produce a certain amount of hectolitres of beer. I'd rather get mine from small batches that larger ones.

I'm indifferent to it. I like the LCBO model, but I also like the privatized stores of Alberta - I'm not so sure big chains will carry smaller breweries mostly because the big three will pay Metro, Sobey's, Loblaws more money for shelf space. It'll almost end up like being the Beer Store.

Cheers,
Andrew

March 14, 2015 @ 9:50 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Phil

Thanks Capden!

March 14, 2015 @ 9:59 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Cheryl

Grapefruit League games mean absolutely nothing. I wouldn't worry about the Orioles' record until opening day.

March 14, 2015 @ 10:00 AM

Drunk Johnny Fever

What sport has the most meaningless pre -season games?

MLB ,NFL or NHL ??

March 14, 2015 @ 10:57 AM

4x4 Time

@Andrew - I had a pint of Silversmith at the Angel Inn in NOTL recently. Not a big beer drinker but that was very nice beer.

March 14, 2015 @ 11:10 AM

Andrew

@ 4x4 Time

The Black Lager is the only beer I can drink. I've developed some kind of intolerance to brewer's yeast. I bloat up like the Michellin Man if I drink it - but, they triple filter the black lager and remove almost 90-95% of the yeast and it doesn't bother me. I had stopped drinking beer for over 7 years, so it was nice to find one I could drink.

Cheers,
Andrew

March 14, 2015 @ 1:35 PM

Blind Dave

Well, depending on which weather service I believe it will either be 15C or 17C today. Whooo hoooo!!!!!!

I read a few days ago that the Toronto Star paywall is coming down (no I didn't, nor would I ever). They gave it some spin about providing great quality news and giving people what the want. Obviously what people want is to not pay extra for news on the internet. I'll leave the quality bit alone.

Did I tell y'all that I bought a treadmill a month ago? I am on it 5-6 times per week for about 45 minutes. I don't have the balance to run on a tread so I fast walk (4 to 4.3 miles per hour). I burn between 500-600 calories per workout and I feel great afterwards. Then I alternate between tummy exercises one day and hand weights the next day while I still have a good sweat going. My wife tries to do 3 times per week and she is loving it too. I put her favourite rock songs on the computer so she works out and bounces along to the beat. She has it down to a science.

We are actually going out for a WALK today. Wow!

March 14, 2015 @ 2:47 PM

twins from bolton

Had a confrontation today. Driving home from doing chores & see a family of Dad, Mom & 3 young kids riding bikes & 2 of them on training wheels & none of them wearing bike helmets. I rolled my window down & said "Kids should be wearing helmets & Dad said you are smoking A$$h0le & then the wife said mind your own business & go F yourself in front of her 3 young kids.

I pity those kids.

Was i wrong when I made this comment to a parent? Not my business, but have seen a child fall off a bike not wearing a helmet & is in a wheelchair now with physical & mental situations.
Us as parents make our decisions with our children sometimes don't think about future consequences.

March 14, 2015 @ 4:33 PM

Stephanie

I think for children it's actually a law in Ontario that helmets must be worn. But despite the fact I never wore one growing up, when I ride a bike now I feel weird not wearing one. I was in San Francisco last weekend and rented and rode across the Golden Gate Bridge. I wore a helmet as did 90% of everyone else. Since rentals vs owned bikes are obvious, I'd say the number of people on their OWN bikes was closer to 100%. @Twins, you were perfectly correct in rolling your windows down. You left them with a story. I'm sure if they were to recount that story to their friends no one would side with them and they'll realize how wrong they were. Of course, you never wish ill on anyone, but maybe they'll have to learn the hard way. Such a simple remedy..

March 14, 2015 @ 6:24 PM

Glen

@Andrew


I tried the Oast House Seasonal Pale Ale at my local pub this afternoon. It was really good.


Thanks for the tip.

March 14, 2015 @ 6:38 PM

Andrew

@ Glen,

Awesome... I haven't had one of those yet, but I have sampled the raspberry framboise. The oyster stout from Silversmith is great, again, I can only enjoy sips :)

Glad you liked it.

Cheers,
Andrew

March 14, 2015 @ 8:15 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Stephanie

Yes, it's the law for kids to wear helmets when they bike.

I put on a helmet for the first time in the summer of 2012. I can't imagine riding without one now.

March 14, 2015 @ 8:43 PM

Irv

Re: Bike Helmets.

Allow me to speak from experience. In 2013, MRI's found a giant glob of white matter on my brain. Initial reaction; tumour. I began facing the realization that I might well die. It was not a tumour but the result of getting hit by a car & injury to my brain. It's still there and likely benign but I take no chances.

Wear a helmet.

March 14, 2015 @ 9:20 PM

dale

I listen to radio at work at low volume as I love all types of music. Earlier this week Old Man by Neil Young was playing when a co-worker came to see me & said "you're listening to Jimmy Fallon" & I said no it's Neil Young.

She's 37 years old born in Canada & said who is Neil Young Iv,e never heard of him.
I laughed & then almost cried.

March 14, 2015 @ 10:27 PM

Cheryl

My Habs won last night and my Nets won and the Leafs lost. That was good except my Orioles lost and my Diamondbacks lost as well as my Coyotes lost. My Coyotes are way out of the playoffs, but my Habs are very much in it. Well, maybe preseason means nothing, but I just hope my Orioles can turn it around in the regular season.

March 15, 2015 @ 8:00 AM

Douglas

I started wearing a helmet for cycling in 1984. In 1972, my family was in a serious head-on collision (yes, we were all wearing seatbelts). I needed stitches to my forehead as a result of the collision, but over time, doctors realized that I had incurred more than just a serious cut on my forehead.

Of course, I had plenty of ridicule thrown my way over the years. I paid U$39.99 for my Bell helmet. That same helmet was C$99.99 at the time. I am sure that unwarranted price gap was one reason for people not wearing helmets in Canada. My most recent helmet was under $100, so in real terms, helmets are very affordable, let alone better, nowadays.

Like Mike, I can't go riding without my helmet. Just like I won't drive my car without a seatbelt. One serious blow to the head in my lifetime is one too many, thanks.

March 15, 2015 @ 12:52 PM

Mike from Lowville

@ Glen, you will be disappointed if or when they start selling beer in the supermarkets. They call them MICRO brewers for a reason. They can't stock the beer stores and LCBO now! How are they going to stock ALL those supermarkets? You will pay more for what will be available. Job creation? Give me a break! They will make do with the people they have. Many underaged kids work in those places stocking and they will not be able to touch the stuff.......and maybe will NOT be able to work there because of that. Oh, WOW! Bet you didn't think of that!

Irv is bang on with his facts but, having shopped out there myself.......beer is warm and pricey, hard stuff is pricey (poor selection) and the whole store was messy. Think back room warehouse.

March 16, 2015 @ 6:18 AM

Cheryl

My Orioles lost again and my Diamondbacks lost again yesterday. No good. Oh well, my Suns won and the Raptors lost. Anyway, hopefully my Habs win again tonight. Good thing the losing streak ended on Saturday.

March 16, 2015 @ 7:34 AM

Douglas

@Mike from Lowville
First, I do know where Lowville is, having gone to McMaster and lived in northwest Oakville, let alone gone for many drives through there.

You're right about any retailer stocking microbrewer beer. A few years ago, Ottawa brewer Beau's had to cut their shipments off for Toronto so that they could supply the burgeoning local demand. Fortunately, they were able to add capacity, enough to supply larger LCBO stores in southern and eastern Ontario. Not being a huge beer consumer, but definitely liking most of the smaller brewery offerings that I have tried, I just make it a point of picking up some Beau's whenever I get to the Ottawa area. It makes the trip a little bit more special.

March 16, 2015 @ 11:50 AM

Mike from Lowville

@Douglas
Yes, I remember when Beau's did that. There are many many micros all over North America that are local only and like it that way. I like the system we have here in Ontario. The LCBO is a well run public asset that is ALWAYS in the black. (Good for us) The LCBO is very good at policing for age as is the BEER STORE. The issue I have with the BEER STORE is that its foreign owned and has built in protection for the beer brands they own. That allows them to charge and restrict smaller brewers. If it is a BEER STORE they should carry any beer the is made firstly local (that wishes to) and then any others that can provide supply. In all providing a fair profit for both. I dislike the system they have in the States and people here keep asking for it! The supermarkets charge premium prices for the premium brands.......you CAN'T buy beer 24/7. You think it would be different here? Oh, and when was the last time you heard of a LCBO being robbed?

March 17, 2015 @ 6:59 AM

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