Lowe’s, the home improvement warehouse best known to Canadians for providing proof that Gene Hackman is still alive, recently got itself into a whole mess of controversy after pulling ad spots from TLC’s All-American Muslim. The series, which documents how people of the Muslim faith eat apple pie at baseball games while hating Russia or whatever, earned the wrath of The Florida Family Association, a conservative Christian organization dedicated to spreading the word of God through spam emails.

Here’s what the FFA had to say about the program:

“The Learning Channel's new show All-American Muslim is propaganda clearly designed to counter legitimate and present-day concerns about many Muslims who are advancing Islamic fundamentalism and Sharia law.  The show profiles only Muslims that appear to be ordinary folks while excluding many Islamic believers whose agenda poses a clear and present danger to liberties and traditional values that the majority of Americans cherish.” (FULL TEXT HERE)

So All-American Muslim doesn’t show fathers strangling their daughters for wearing lipstick or community groups packing explosives into their baking trays and that’s a bad thing. Fine. The FFA is entitled to their perverted opinion because that’s how they make themselves feel important. However, Lowe’s is supposed to sell you paint cans, not actively engage in this kind of regressive politicizing, which is why their recent choice to follow the FFA’s suggestion and pull advertising has raised some eyebrows. In response, the PAINT CAN SUPPLIER has issued the following statement:

“As you know, the TLC program All-American Muslim has become a lightning rod for people to voice complaints from a variety of perspectives – political, social and otherwise. Following this development, dozens of companies removed their advertising from the program beginning in late November. Lowe’s made the decision to discontinue our advertising on Dec. 5. As we shared yesterday, we have a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion, and we’re proud of that longstanding commitment. If we have made anyone question that commitment, we apologize.”

Alright, no, people from a variety of perspectives have not voiced complaints, only those from the perspective of blind, impotent hate. And dozens of companies have NOT pulled their advertising, as the FFA claims; the group has cited many, like Mars-Wrigley candy, who never committed to long-term promotion in the first place. Lowe’s has merely found itself alone, left to issue a half-assed, half-brained non-apology for “(Making) anyone question that commitment,” whatever the goddamn hell that means, and we await their inevitable flip-flop.


[html]Do men, even the really scuzzy ones, think post-career Lindsay Lohan is attractive? It’s hard to say. She fixed her teeth, right? That’s something. Anyway, here is a picture somebody took with their cell phone of her upcoming Playboy cover, set to hit newsstands (HAHA. News.) next week [via Daily Mail]:


Related: TORO interviews Hugh Hefner


OH EM GEE. I can’t believe the news. Did you hear? I can’t even blog properly, I’m so excited (via press release):

“The countdown is on! This Monday night on CTV, one of Hollywood’s biggest stars will deliver an on-air message directed exclusively to Canadians. Taped in Los Angeles earlier this week, the message will air in a commercial break between 9-9:30 p.m. ET/PT (8-8:30 p.m. CT; 10-10:30 p.m. AT/MT) on Monday, Dec. 12. Who is this mega-star? What will he/she say? ‘Look Canada, we need to talk,’ the über-celebrity says in the taped message. ‘I’m here to help you.’”

An über-celebrity! A celebrity so great they’ve exceeded the very definition of celebrity! Who could it be? Johnny Depp? A Twilight vampire? The reanimated corpse of Frank Sinatra? I’m literally counting down to Monday between 9-9:30 p.m. Three hundred thousand eight hundred and thirty FIVE seconds ... three hundred thousand eight hundred and thirty FOUR seconds ...


The Toronto Lingerie Football League took a stand yesterday!

No, they weren't defending their league against the clear fact it belongs strictly in a 1980s sex comedy. The scantily clad ladies protested violence against animals ... By holding PETA prostest signs – while also holding a ball made out of the skin of a pig.

The sense of irony held by the Lingerie Football League gives me a strong suspicion they knew exactly what they were doing when they invented the contradictory concept that is their league.

Their next politically savvy move will be to protest the Iraq war by joining the army and fighting in Iraq. After that they will protest student fees by running for office, getting elected, and raising tuition rates.


It’s an accepted fact that government regulation allows trace amounts of toxic substances into food and drink approved for sale, including animal feces, and an accepted matter of common sense that trace amounts of toxic substances are not harmful in and of themselves. That’s why, with all listed poisons intact, you don’t die every time you smoke a cigarette.

This supposedly lax policy on the part of the American government gets pointed out a lot as if it were a newfound idea, and every time people seem to lose their shit (and then find it again in their hamburgers.) But this recent op-ed piece by Dr. Chuck Norris M.D. is just too disturbing to ignore. Excerpt:

“ABC News reported that Consumer Reports tested 88 samples of popular brands of grape and apple juice sold in the U.S., including Welch's, Minute Maid and Mott's. The results revealed that 10 percent of the juices ‘had total arsenic levels greater than the FDA's standard for drinking water of 10 parts per billion (ppb), while 25 percent of juices also had lead levels higher than the FDA's bottled water limit of 5 ppb.’ Furthermore, data on arsenic in adult urine from the CDC demonstrated that men and women who drank apple or grape juice in a 24-hour period ‘had, on average, about 20 percent higher levels of total urinary arsenic than those subjects who did not.’”

I’m really worried ... that Chuck Norris is drinking way too much apple juice. To get arsenic poisoning from 10 per cent of all tested juice with trace amounts just over 10 parts per billion, especially if a significant percentage of it is being passed through your pee, not only would you have to drink nothing but apple juice, you’d have to do nothing but drink apple juice, all day long, for months. While you’re waiting around to get poisoned, chances are you’d develop diabetes, become morbidly obese, and go broke after purchasing an apple juice importer and redirecting supplies straight to your kitchen. I don’t officially endorse any of our readers to test this theory, but unofficially ... I say go for it.


[html]The new list of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees is a diverse group indeed; on April 14 of next year Beastie Boys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Guns ‘n’ Roses, Donovan, The Small Faces, and late singer/songwriter Laura Nyro will be honoured. Sorry, rejected nominees The Cure, Joan Jett, Eric B./Rakim, The Spinners, Donna Summer, Heart, War, and Chaka Khan, maybe next year. Or in the case of Chaka Khan, maybe never.


[html]Our pals in local folk-rock trio Sunparlour Players  released their third record Us Little Devils via Outside Music this past October, and now share a video for standout track “Runner”, directed by Jared Raab (who has also crafted videos for Born Ruffians and The Arkelles.) Enjoy:

Oh, and stay tuned for a feature interview with the band next week.


Dec 8 - Windsor (Capitol Theater)
Dec 9 - Hamilton (The Casbah)
Dec 10 - Toronto (The Great Hall) ALBUM RELEASE SHOW
Feb. 11 - Colbalt (The Classic Theater)


[html]Montreal trio Plants and Animals has announced a follow up to last year’s Polaris Prize-longlister La La Land; it drops February 28 with the ominous title The End of That (cover above) via Secret City records. It better not be the end! We happen to like Plants and Animals. So before it all comes to an end, hear the new tune “Lightshow” below, with a full track list after that:

  Plants and Animals - Lightshow by SecretCityRecords

1. Before

2. The End Of That

3. Song For Love

4. Lightshow

5. Crisis!

6. 2010

7. HC

8. Why & Why

9. Control Me

10. No Idea

11. Runaways


People seem to forget that Boston Rob Mariano was a construction worker before he competed on Survivor four times, The Amazing Race twice and travelled Around The World In 80 Ways. For that reason and all of his reality expertise, the Survivor Redemption Island winner was the featured guest at this weekend’s Great Outdoors & DIY Weekend that continues today at the International Centre in Toronto.

The show actually features four separate shows – the Fall Cottage Life Show, the Outdoor Canada Show, the Explore Adventure & Travel Show and the Canadian Home Workshop Show – all under one roof with just under 400 exhibitors in attendance.

Cool things to check out?

- The Treetop Trekking Indoor Zipline that lets you sail over a pool
- Being able to build your own wood gumball machine under the supervision of an expert
- Being able to buy any kind of power tool, canoe or fishing rod you want

As for Boston Rob, the reality star answered questions and participated in a makeshift Survivor challenge yesterday.

What was his highlight at the show?

"Meeting the fans," he says. "It’s always been the fans. It was great today. We had the presentation and giving them answers to questions that they have always had. Meeting with them and thanking them because at the end of the day, the reason why I am able to do what I do is because of the fans. That’s what it’s always been about. Seeing Toronto and the city was great.

You can check out Mariano, who recently started his own production company, on the upcoming History Television series Around the World in 80 Days which premieres on January 4.

What else is he up to?

"I am taking some time off around the holidays to spend some time with my family," says Mariano, sounding every bit the family man when he tells me that daughter Lucia is getting a play-kitchen while Carina will get a dolly. "And after the New Year, I am going to focus my attention on my new production company and focus on some new original concepts."

The Great Outdoors & DIY Weekend continues at the International Centre today from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  More information is available at




It turns our former Toronto Raptor Steve Nash has a hidden talent that has nothing to do with 3-pointers: Dude is funny. At least, that is, according to the new "Are You Nash Enough?" campaign rolled out by the folks at vitaminwater.

It seems, according to this clever ad, that it really doesn't take much to be Nash Enough. So, the peeps at the brand are looking for Nash-worthy folks to star in their next commercial via the procurement of homemade I'm Nash-ty videos.

Anyway, enter here  and you could get on a commercial with Steve Nash or at least win a Flip Video Camera or an autographed basketball.

Just Do it! (oops wrong brand).


We admittedly have Movember on the brain at TORO. Tomorrow, our Mr. Jesse Skinner will assess the state of his mo and next Wednesday, along with our friends at The Monarch Tavern, we're helping to host the First Annual Stash Bash, featuring hip hop band Tiny Danza.

So last night as we watched Sidney Crosby's comeback, we were intrigued by the growth on his upper lip (and couldn't help but wonder if it was actually 21 days' worth). And we applauded Steve Sullivan while watching his post-game interview (about Crosby) for his robust-yet-somewhat-unfortunate-looking moustache.

NHL players have definitely caught the Movember spirit. Today, we received a media release about L.A. Kings forward Mike Richards, who's donating a dollar to Movember for every new follower he gains this month. And last week, Puck Daddy checked in with the Top 10 NHL mo's so far. How the race finishes, is TBD. But thanks and good growing to all!



The relationship that crumbled in the past week was not just the one between myself and my now-stolen iPod Touch (RIP Steve Jobs), but also that of DemAshton, the powerhouse couple that brought us ... uh ... to no new heights of anything, until the scandal broke that Ashton Kutcher cheated unprotectedly on Demi on their anniversary, which brought me to heights of admiration and being grossed out at the same time.

This culminated with the news that they are getting a divorce. It's now being reported Ashton and Demi had an 'open' relationship, thanks to Demi's gay needs, that they argued like crazy, and that they – unsuccessfully – sought counseling.

Not to mention Ashton awkwardly criticized Penn State firing their child-molester-defending head coach. With logic like that, he'll probably wind up dating one of Demi's kids.


[html] 23-year-old Etobicoke native Al Spx performs as Cold Specks. Her project evokes the tone of Alan Lomax folk field recordings but is more closely indebted to the history of female blues singers, from Bessie Smith to Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Odetta and beyond, artists who are often referenced but rarely evoked as strongly as they are in these songs.

After months spent promoting herself in England Spx will release her debut 7” single “Holland” b/w the traditional ballad “Old Stepstone” (listen here) in her home country December 13, via Arts & Crafts, with a series of shows opening for St. Vincent to support it. Those are listed after some live clips below.

Live dates:

Dec 15 - Toronto @ The Phoenix
Dec 16 - Ottawa @ Ritual
Dec 17 - Montreal @ Corona Theatre


[html] Last month we reported the existence of Old Ideas, the 12th studio album from Canada’s official Moping Laureate Leonard Cohen. Now we can share a song to confirm it exists and the cover art (above) to confirm Mr. Cohen takes reasonably good care of his lawn.

The song is called “Show Me the Place” (or “Shoe Me the Place” according to the press release, which sounds way better) and it’s kinda sad. Enjoy!


[html]Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard's meta-horror-satire-whatever Cabin in the Woods completed filming over two years ago, delayed by the bankruptcy of original studio MGM. Now in the hands of Lionsgate, the film is finally set for release April 13, 2012. Like J.J. Abram’s Super 8 anticipation for the film is based primarily on the secrecy of its premise, secrecy kind of totally bungled with this extensive trailer. Lucky for them co-star Chris Hemsworth has made huge moves in the interim, being Thor and all:

So it’s Evil Dead meets Cube? Cool?


Stop the presses! Larry King wants to be frozen when he dies! I'm officially investing in a human-sized freezer and shooting him an email.

King revealed said tidbit on a CNN special called Dinner With Kings, where Lar dined at his home with such luminaries as Conan O'Brien, Russell Brand & the Twitter guy. This is the coolest sounding television program of all time. I need a bronzed copy of it.

During the course of the show, Mr.King revealed that he wants to be frozen when he passes away, presumably in the hopes that future technologies could revive him. I volunteer to hose him down with icy water! He also mentioned that he wants to "live forever." What? He's not already a vampire??? I'm shocked!

Another, more symbolic, way of living forever would be if Barack Obama enacted a law that every American is obliged to get a tattoo of Larry King's face on his/her ...  I think it would boost national morale.


Pixar, friend to you, me, your kid, his friends, their parents, etc., currently has four movies in its pipeline, and at least three of them aren’t sequels! That’s good. So after Brave drops next summer and that Monsters Inc. prequel makes us all kind of depressed about the incoming End of Ideas (circa 2016), there’s a very strange, very interesting project on the horizon.

Initially explained only as a “film that takes us inside the mind,” this as-yet-untitled project, directed by Pete Docter (Up) now has some words from studio founder John Lasseter, from a recent appearance on Charlie Rose [via Slashfilm]: “Pete Docter ... is doing a new film that takes place inside of a girl’s mind and it is about her emotions as characters, and that is unlike anything you’ve ever seen.”

Is that enough information to warrant a blog post? Who cares? I’m psyched.


I still have a soft spot for Permission to Land, the debut from British neo-glam metal act The Darkness. If you’re like me and wish it was 2003 all over again (and you were about to graduate high school and ... hey, get out of my memories) you’ll want to sit down for this (because sitting is more comfortable, obviously): THE DARKNESS ARE REUNITING! It’s been a long six years, nine or so if you (probably) skipped their second record, but they’re finally back. And about to tour.


Feb. 1 –  Toronto (The Phoenix)
Feb. 3 – Boston (Paradise)
Feb. 4 – New York (Irving Plaza)
Feb. 7 – Philadelphia (Trocadero)
Feb. 8 – Washington, D.C. (9:30 Club)
Feb. 10 – Detroit (St. Andrew’s Hall)
Feb. 11 – Chicago (Metro)
Feb. 12 – Minneapolis (First Avenue)
Feb. 15 – Denver (Summit)
Feb. 17 – Las Vegas (House of Blues)
Feb. 18 – Phoenix (Celebrity Theatre)
Feb. 19 – Los Angeles (House of Blues)
Feb. 21 – San Francisco (Fillmore)

Still great:


This weekend presented an interesting possibility for movie fans: could director Steve McQueen’s Shame, carrying critical approval, Oscar buzz, two white-hot stars and the dreaded NC-17 rating, make a mark on the box office, and thus maybe boost the hope of a legitimate, marketable adult rating? Like all films with that tag Shame is full of sex, but it's hardly pornographic, something its creators perhaps hoped to communicate to audiences by not protesting the MPAA’s decision – and in fact, president of distributer Fox Searchlight Steve Gilula called it a “badge of honor.”

At least one major chain, Cinemark, refused to carry the film, but that didn’t stop it from opening just fine: according to Box Office Mojo its currently-limited run (10 American theaters) netted $361,000, for a healthy per-screen average of – calculators up! – $36,100. That should, according to the site, bode well for a “healthy arthouse run.” They know better than I do, so good work everyone.

In more news involving the word shame, millions more people saw The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 1 as it has now topped the charts three weeks in a row. Positive notices haven't done much for The Muppets, however, with a depressing 62-per cent drop from its opening week indicating that (as I observed at my own screening) its most receptive audience members were nostalgic adults with no reason to see it twice.

Related: TORO reviews Shame