25 Things to Do Instead of Watching Canada’s Got Talent

While who gets the title of “worst show of the year” could be closely battled out between Are You There, Chelsea? and Whitney, it’s only fair to add to that list the overly-hyped and underwhelming turd known as Canada’s Got Talent.

As a rip-off to America’s Got Talent, itself a rip-off of the British show of the same name, Rogers Communications dug deep into their heavily cash-lined pockets and tapped the talents of Martin Short as a judge and spent (presumably) millions more on adverting, sets and promotion so Citytv could get into the homegrown reality show market – and along the way, further inflate Dina Pugliese’s ego. (It would have probably been cheaper to film the so-called “talent search” inside SkyDome seeing as 1) Rogers already owns it, and 2) it’s the only building in Toronto that is big enough to fit Dina’s ego.)

Let’s kick the ballistics; Canada’s Got Talent blows. Of course you wouldn’t know that from watching any programs (or newscasts) on Citytv as they have been promoting the show and talking about it as if it was the Second Coming. And don’t get me wrong… Canada does in fact have talent. It’s just that none of it, with the exception of Mr. Short, are involved with this show.

One of my editors actually wanted me to watch the first two episodes and review it. I refused. It wasn’t as if there weren’t already 1,000 reasons not to watch. (It sucks, it’s crap, I’ve seen more ‘talent” in homeless people who pee against the wall of a subway stations, etc) but I had better things to do. In case you’re even entertaining the idea of watching, here is a short list of things that are better, more productive and more interesting than watching Canada’s Got Talent.

1) Shave your underarms
2) Help your dog groom himself
3) Write that letter to Penthouse you’ve been meaning to write
4) Sleep
5) Drink any leftover fluids found under your sink
6) Read to your goldfish
7) Pick your teeth
8) Compare zit-popping stories with friends
9) See just how many licks it does in fact take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop
10) Re-write Star Wars Episode I so that it doesn’t completely suck
11) Learn a new language
12) Date a serial killer
13) Find new and interesting ways to touch yourself
14) Count, organize and name the socks in your sock drawer
15) Re-enact the 1967 Stanley Cup finals (all six games) with your stuffed animals
16) Have a one-hour conversation with your friends, using only Simpsons quotes
17) Wash your car’s headlight using your tongue
18) Pee onto the electrified third rail of the subway tracks
19) Fill out expired and out-dated customer satisfaction surveys
20) See how many other Pink Floyd albums sync up to old movies
21) Read this
22) Go for a walk
23) Attempt to build your own time machine, realize it’s completely impossible, feel sorry for wasting so much of your time and then realize that you were still having a better time than you would have had if you had watched Canada’s Got Talent
24) Sharpen crayons with you teeth
25) Pray that Canada’s Got Talent goes the way of other American-inspired Canadian crap-fests like Canadian Idol and So You Think You Can Dance, Canada.

The stadium formerly known as SkyDome

Hard to believe it’s been seven years since Rogers Communications ruined a Toronto landmark by purchasing SkyDome and changing its name. Granted, if I spent $25 million on a stadium, I’d want my name all over it too. But did they have to incorporate the word “Centre” after their own name? It makes the once-great Dome sound like a strip mall anchored by a video store. (interestingly enough, there is a Rogers Plus store attached to the south side of the stadium now. I’m not sure if they rent videos.)

It was often said that the reason Rogers didn’t call it RogersDome was because they were worried that people would drop “Rogers” from the name when talking about and simply call it The Dome.  And like I said, for $25 million, you want to make sure they say your name.

I remember the cry that went up from not only fans, but also the media about how ridiculous the name change was.  Funny how the folks at Citytv – themselves bought over by Rogers in 2007 – no longer have anything to say about that. I, like most people, hate the new name and refuse to use it.

It will always be SkyDome to me, or simply The Dome. Still to this day I call it that when telling people where I’m going to watch a ballgame or identifying the second most recognizable landmark in the city. When I first came here in 1997 it was one of my favorite places in the city, and not just because it hosted WrestleMania. There was just something simple, yet impressive about it.

And the name, as we all know by now, was great too.

Yes, please fire Ron Wilson (and Brian Burke too.)

I normally don’t pay attention to the CityNews polls on their web site, usually because they are most always something sophomoric aimed at their viewers —  you know, the same people who actually line up overnight for Viewer Appreciation Day. (I wish I was making that up.)  But the featured on Friday, February 24 was the best poll question they’ve had in recent memory. And the results that had come in so far were also awesome.

The question is simple: Is it time for the Leafs to fire Ron Wilson?

In the wake of losing seven of their last games, I would say YOU BET YOUR SISTER’S SWEET ASS IT’S TIME TO FIRE HIM. (Except that wasn’t an option… so I had to vote “YES”.)

One has to wonder if Rogers (owners of Citytv and co-owners of the Toronto Maple Leafs along with Bell) are putting their feelers out to Leafs Nation to see what people think. Fans must wonder how can the most profitable hockey team in the entire NHL can let this continue.

After 45 years of not winning the cup and having their last playoff appearance be in 2004, you’d better believe it’s time to clean house. And not just with Ron Wilson. General Manager Brian Burke needs to go too. Maybe the G.M.’s view isn’t so good from way up in the Gondola above the Air Canada Centre, but the view (and the stench) from ice level is pretty bad. Something needs to be done.

No more contract extensions, no more excuses, just bring down the axe and bring it down hard.

citynews to launch news channel; ctv to launch ctv two

The summer season (filled with cast-offs, second-rate dramas and third-rate reality shows) hasn’t even begun, but major Canadian broadcasters announced yesterday the new fall line-up as well as some new networks that are coming down the pipe.

Rogers-owned Citytv announced that they will finally launch their CP24 clone called CityNews Channel that will be — as you may have guessed — exactly like CP24. There had been some rumblings about it launching a while ago, but that never got off the ground until now.

Of course, Rogers spins it differently than calling it a clone of the wildly popular CP24, but let’s be honest, after CTV and Rogers split up the once-mighty CHUM empire a few years ago, CTV (Now Bell Media) cleaned up when they acquired not only all the specialty channels like Much, Bravo and Space, they also netted CP24. If you didn’t know, CP24 is probably the most watched channel in the entire city of Toronto.  Don’t believe me? Go into any bar or restaurant that has a TV and tell me what they are showing. I can almost guarantee that at least one set somewhere in that bar is locked into CP24.

So now Rogers is banking on the fact that Toronto-folk will suddenly decide to make the switch over to CityNews Channel. If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that old habits die hard – and finding a remote control in a bar is next to impossible. So I doubt that Rogers will get the numbers they are hoping for.

In case you’re planning to set your PVRs, CityNews Channel will simulcast the CityNews broadcasts, Breakfast Television and provide round-the-clock news coverage.

Bell Media, not to be outdone, is re-branding their A networks as CTV Two across the country. Not much will change and presumably most employees will keep their jobs, and the shows that the main networks didn’t want will still have a home.

I always like seeing new networks start up. It gives hard working people much needed jobs and broadens the landscape for TV viewers. I personally don’t watch a lot of television myself, but it’s still interesting to watch the ever-changing local and national media.

iThink that iMight get an iPhone

I was wrong, okay?  Let’s just save the “I Told You So” Dance and let me explain.

iphoneWhen the Apple iPhone launched in Canada in 2008, I was one of the folks who got to see it up close and personal.  I was even offered an introductory deal on it if I wanted to keep it.  But I passed.

Sure, it’s a neat little device. And with all the applications (called “apps” by the cool kids) and features and ability to take notes like a Blackberry, the iPhone truly is an “everything phone”.

But one of the things that turned me off of the iPhone when it came out (both in the U.S. and Canada) was the fact that everyone had to have it.  Including Kevin Smith and Lindsay Lohan.  (Although the latter is good enough reason not to get one.) Sure, it does a lot of things, but would you really line up for hours outside just to get it?

Now, nearly a year later, I’ll be the first to admit I may have been wrong about a few things. When my friend insisted that I try an iPhone again before I passed final judgment on it, I realized that maybe I had been a tad harsh on it. But I’m a PC girl and I don’t like Rogers Communications — two things that stand in the way of my getting my own iPhone. (It was then pointed out to me that Fido also offers an iPhone package and while Fido is owned by Rogers, it wouldn’t say Rogers on my monthly bill, so that’s little peace of mind.)

Thing is, now I’ve done a 180 degree turn and would consider getting an iPhone of my own,I have a year and a half left on my current cell phone plan before I can either upgrade or leave the provider all together.   I’m currently with Bell Mobility and am the proud owner of a Samsung Instinct — known in some circles as an Apple Eater or iPhone Killer.

I guess it’s good because it gives me 18 months to really think about it.

bell canada bends me over – one tweet at a time

bellI was all happy because as a  Bell Mobile customer, it appeared that finally the day of being the Dog instead of the Hydrant had arrived.  With the popularity of iPhone and all the applications you can get, Rogers seemed to own the smartphone market.  But then Bell struck back.  They became first (and currently the only) mobile provider to offer SMS Twitter updates — something Rogers and other Canadian mobile providers haven’t been able to do since Twitter stopped offering the service to Canadians.

So naturally, I stuck it in everyone’s face, singing the praises of MY mobile provider FINALLY caring about their customers and how much better Bell was than Rogers.  And so on.  (I’m sure you’re well aware of how the Victory Dance goes.  It looks especially good when done in leather pants, by the way…)

But like all good things, that came to an end – and pretty fast too.  It was announced on Wednesday that Bell Canada will be charging 15 cents for every Tweet sent via Text message and every Tweet received — even if your mobile plan includes unlimited text messages.

So where does that leave Samsung Instinct users like myself who subscribe to Bell?  Up the creek without a paddle. Bent over the kitchen sink like a goat in Greece.  Out of luck… (oh, hell, you get where I’m going with this one…)

Way to go, Bell.  Thanks for being a bunch of douche-bags.  And cheap ones too.

Rogers customers who own iPhones and Blackberries have since discovered the wonders of Twitterberry and similar applications that have been a smart way around the no SMS Twitter problem here in Canada. Bell, however, found a way to once again stick it to the customer.  Just when I thought they were finally “getting it” and actually respecting the people who line their pockets.

UPDATE: It seems that Bell has bowed to public pressure and now lets their subscribers use Twitter without any additional charges.  I received an email stating that Bell spokespeople have confirmed this, but I shall wait – or maybe find out for myself – just to be sure.