WEDNESDAY MARCH 29, 2017
 
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[html]Happy Monday morning! Why not start your day with an apocalyptic music video courtesy of Toronto indie rockers/TORO Garage Band alumni The Darcys? The song’s called “Don’t Bleed Me” and I’ll reserve commentary ‘til after you’ve watched it:



All done? Good. Also: yikes! What happened? Toronto, we hardly knew ye!

UPDATED: Apparently I mis-read the plot here, and retracting my earlier criticism of the main character I learn it was in fact a SECOND guy with a family who tucks his kid into bed and ... watches the whole city blow up. That kid is screwed either way.

I still think I'm right about this guy's neck hair, unless I'm not paying enough attention again and it's a birthmark or something:

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R.I.P. Toronto!

The Darcys live @ TORO:

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Neuroscientists examining the brain of former NHL player Derek Boogard, who died in May at the age of 28, discovered a surprisingly advanced degree of brain damage.

The degenerative brain disease, chronic traumatic encephalopathy or C.T.E., is related to Alzheimer's and can only be diagnosed posthumously. It has been diagnosed in the brains of more than 20 former professional football players.

"To see this amount? That's a 'wow' moment," said Ann McKee, a neurpathologist and co-director of the Boston University Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy.

Boogard suffered an accidental overdose on May 13 and was found dead by his brothers in his Minneapolis apartment. He spent six seasons as an enforcer with the Minnesota Wild and New York Rangers, accruing three goals and 589 minutes in penalties in six NHL seasons.

Boston University researchers discovered the same degenerative disease in the brain of Bob Probert, who died at age 45.

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Pity the poor New York Islanders, the first opponent of Sidney Crosby, who spent the last 10 months on the sidelines, desperate to get back on the ice.

In case you missed it (because you live in a cave or work shifts or something), Crosby played his first game last night since suffering a concussion back in January. Sixteen minutes of ice time was all he needed to score two goals and two assists as the Penguins routed the Isles 5-0.

And, more importantly, he survived his first test of contact. During the first period, Crosby took a hit from New York defender Travis Hamonic near the Isles net and was knocked to the ice. But Crosby quickly sprung to his feet and the Penguins organization exhaled ... for now.

After the game, Crosby admitted he was happy to get the hit over with.

"I was mad at myself for putting myself in that position," he said. "I'm glad I kind of got that over with too early on. There's going to be more hits and probably harder ones."

Yes, there will be.

Here's a look of his first goal:

Related: Mark Howe thinks players should police themselves

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Oh, boy:



Where do we even begin? I’m going to cut to the chase and take issue with their perception of “brainwashing.” First of all, brainwashing, like subliminal messages and hypnosis, is something that sort of happens but not really. It’s a paranoid concept that greatly overestimates what science is capable of. You can suggest something to another person in the most diversionary way possible, but no scientist or government has ever been able to make someone actually believe something by drugging them and showing flash cards or whatever. But even IF brainwashing existed like in the movies (I’m going by The Manchurian Candidate here, choose your own) the intricacies of The Fucking Muppets hardly qualifies; in this case it’s the comic illustration of an oil tycoon named Tex Richman. You don’t (or CAN’T) brainwash in the first place but if you did you wouldn’t do so through EXTREME COMIC EXAGGERATION SO OBVIOUS A CHILD WOULD UNDERSTAND IT! That’s the exact opposite of brainwashing, which doesn’t exist, but if it did it would not be carried out by felt monsters in a children’s musical.

Also: “Why would that Muppet be starving?” A real adult asking real questions that we’ve all thought of, but heretofore couldn’t articulate.

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[html]After a three year recording absence, Virginia metal heroes Lamb of God will release their seventh album Resolution, by default their friendliest-sounding title yet, January 24. In the meantime you can hear lead single, “Ghost Walking” via MetalSucks.

Tomorrow, December 6, the video for “Ghost Walking” will premiere on VEVO and Resolution pre-orders will begin. Check out January tour dates here, note the band will perform at Toronto’s Phoenix Concert Hall January 27.

Album trailer:

 

 

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It's time to pat ourselves on the back. For the past month, we put our best face forward, growing moustaches in support of Movember — an annual push to raise funds for prostate cancer research and awareness. How'd we do? In 30 days, Canadians dished out more than $32 million to become the world leader in Movember donations! TORO celebrated with our friends at Monarch Tavern at their First Annual 'Stache Bash, featuring local indie band Tiny Danza and expert shaves from Garrison's by the Park Barbershop.

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Boston Rob Mariano returned to Toronto this past weekend and in addition to making an appearance at the Great Outdoors & DIY Weekend show at the International Centre, he offered his thoughts on the new Survivor South Pacific season that continues tonight. Who does he think will win? Boston Rob shares his thoughts and also offers theories on how to win Survivor.

What did you think of Cochran’s move, flipping on the Savaii tribe and joining Upolu?

It’s debatable.  I think he is in a tough spot because I like Cochran and he’s entertaining but I think it’s tough for him to win. The self-depreciating gets old…

Really quick.

Really quick.  You know that.  But at the same time, he’s entertaining.  I find myself cheering for him and rooting for him because he’s an underdog.  Whether the move he made was right or not, I don’t know because I don’t really know the inner dynamics of the tribe and how they work.  The one thing I try not to do is judge Survivor because I have been in the situation.  You never truly know everything that’s going on.  If he felt like his back was against the wall and he had no way out, then I don’t necessarily disagree with what he did.  At the same time it looks like he alienated a lot of jury votes by doing what he did.  It’s going to be tough for him to win. 

Who is in the best position to win?

If Coach makes it to the end, as unbelievable as I think it is, I think he has a good shot to win.  It’s crazy to say that because when the season started and I heard it was Coach and Ozzy, I never really got the connection (and I still don’t know that there is one).  I said that after I won the last one, it was going to be really difficult for either of them to win.  The more I watch, the more impressed I am (with Coach).  When you play Survivor more than once, it is about your ability to adapt to different situations.  When the season first started, I was like, it’s the same old Coach. As time went on, he’s starting to grow on me.  I think he’s evolving.  I think Ozzy is a challenge dominator but socially, I just don’t think he gets it.  He stands at Redemption Island and he tells everybody ‘I am going to beat your ass and when I come back…’  Well that’s great if that’s what you do, but you’re not getting my vote if you’re going to talk like that to me.

You’re the only one not picking Sophie.

Maybe, maybe Sophie wins.  I don’t know.  I don’t know who’s going to win.  Brandon, Russell’s nephew has been entertaining to watch.  I think that the one thing that you never want to do when you go on Survivor is try to figure out who you are.  You should know who you are before you go out there because if you try to figure out who you are on the island, it usually ends disastrously but then again, he’s still in it.  He still has a shot.  I don’t think Edna can win.  I don’t think Ozzy can win.  

Rick, who is he?  I don’t see that.  Albert, Sophie… if they get in there, they might get the votes, but I don’t see it as a really entertaining compelling season with them as winners.  That’s not to say they’re not nice people.  Albert’s tried to change the game a few times, he’s just met with resistance each time. 

It will be interesting to see the next weeks play out.  It’s funny, when I was on Redemption Island and it got down to four of us, Phillip, Ashley, Natalie and myself, I realized that final challenge was the entire game.  I positioned myself in a way that I was with the people that I wanted to be with in the end that I thought I could beat.  Then all of a sudden, before the challenge, something hit me.  If I don’t win this challenge, not only am I not going to win, I am probably going to be voted off and I am going to have to vote for one of these three remaining to win the million.  It’s like wow.  Okay, time to perform.  That’s what makes this game so hard and so difficult.  You can do everything right but still if one little thing doesn’t go your way or you didn’t get lucky in the right spot, then you’re not going to win.

A lot of people thought that things were lined up for you to win, but you’re right.  It came down to that challenge right?

It was a lot more work than people think.  I might have made it look easy.

They weren’t just your followers?

No, they weren’t.  From the outset, Kristina and Francesca wanted me gone.  I recognized that threat right away.

Similar to Coach getting rid of Christine and Stacy this season?

Similar.  Getting rid of Matt a second time.  If I didn’t that comes back to haunt me.  Survivor is such a lesson in social dynamics.  I actually have a theory that if Coach makes it to the end, he’s going to win.  It’s because of human nature and the way that people are.  It’s hard for someone to stand up at the end and say ‘you beat me.  Good game.’  It’s not easy to do. There are three categories of Survivor.  People that have never played the game before, people that have played multiple times and people that are playing with people that have played multiple times.  There’s three completely different dynamics.  People that have never played before have a tribe mentality.  Whatever tribe you were initially put on, that’s where your loyalties originally lie.  If someone in your tribe makes it to the end that was in your core alliance, nine times out of 10, the people in the jury do not vote for that person to win (because they would have to turn on their original tribe to get there).  They vote for the person from the other tribe to win.  Think about Vecepia in Rotu (Survivor Marquesas) and how that whole thing went down.

Totally.

Now when people play with people that have played the game before… this is good s***.   You writing this down?  (Laughs).

I am taping it!

People that have played the game before that play the game with other people who have played before [a pure All-Star season], essentially the pecking order comes down to a hierarchy of two things.  A)  How well you did your first season.  B)  How much airtime or how big of a star you were.  They are inversely proportional.  On Survivor All-Stars, people that were winners and did well the first time, the others wanted them gone first.  Then they wanted to go after the big stars.  Because of that philosophy, people like Amber and I got to go further in the game.

You’re talking about the Colbys?

Why did Danielle DiLorenzo get to go so far in Heroes vs. Villains?  Because nobody knew her.  I didn’t even know who she was when we got to the island.  That’s not a dig at Danielle.  With people who have played before there’s a jealousy factor of people that have done well and are big stars and the people that aren’t will rally against the ones that have. 

Here’s the third one and this is the kicker.  Think about those two.  People that have played before and people who haven’t played before.  Now think about people who haven’t played before vs. people who have played before (Fans vs. Favourites, Redemption Island and now this one).  If it comes down to a situation where Coach or Ozzy make it to the end, I think they have a really good shot.  If you think about the pool of people that started the game, it’s really hard to vote for the guy that was on the same level as you when the game started versus one of the veterans because by doing so, you inherently admit that you were beaten.  Do you see what I am saying?

I do.  You’re saying that it is easier for the jury to admit they were beaten by somebody who has played multiple times rather than admit that they were beaten by someone who came into the game at the same level as they did.

Right.  We’ll have to see how it plays out.  It’s a theory.  I think it is a good theory.  It’s always interesting to see how people vote and to see how people are influenced.  It’s a study in social dynamics.

Around The World In 80 Ways premieres January 4 on History Television at 10 p.m.

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[html]Congratulations are in order for Montreal’s Cœur de pirate (born Béatrice Martin), whose sophomore album Blonde topped the iTunes download charts for Canada and France after its release this past November 8 and has remained in the Top 10 since. She managed to break 13,000 digital copies in first-week sales, and that’s no small handful! The album is also currently sitting pretty at #5 of the Canadian Soundscan charts. Check out a clip showcasing Martin's hugely successful release show in Montreal below, and our recent concert gallery. 

She and her band will return for more shows in Canada and the U.S. in the new year.

 


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The temperature has dropped but M for Montreal is only getting hotter. Day 2 begins at the crack of 2.30 p.m. with M for Media, a networking session/roundtable built on the supposition that if enough journalists and promoters are put in a room together, sparks will fly. At this point, however, it seems most are weary of talking about their occupations, and more friendly conversation about music seems to be happening than future work being planned. As we are all music lovers first and foremost, that is to be expected.

Speaking of which, Day 2 offers an even stronger roster of performers than I could have hoped for. In the early afternoon I get the chance to sit with up-and-coming local trio Half Moon Run, whose rep at this point is limited but set to explode when their debut album arrives next year. Imagine if Radiohead or Grizzly Bear were making records on the California coast in the early ‘70s, and you’ll get some idea of what Half Moon Run are creating. Beautiful stuff, full of potential.

After a fine dinner at La Sala Rossa, apparently owned and operated by members of legendary Montreal band Godspeed You! Black Emperor, delegates and common festival goers pack into the upstairs concert area to see a performance by Daniel Isaiah. Isaiah’s music is mellower than most others on the bill, but his melodies grow on me quickly and by the end I understand his purpose: to chill us out before one hell of a party. It also provides a great comedown; post-show I am handed his album by the lovely Ms. Magali Ould of Secret City Records (also home to The Barr Brothers and many other great acts) and slip it on immediately following my return to the Opus Hotel.

Before that, we are treated to an incredible lineup. Absolutely Free, an offshoot of the much-loved, now defunct group DD/MM/YYYY, perform their first set ever (they don't seem to have an official website yet, natch) to an eager crowd. Their new material shows an even stronger love of Krautrock, and of course one member visibly sports a Neu! tee. In time they may earn even more attention than that previous outfit. And I would guess they chose that name just for the opportunity to declare “We are Absolutely Free!” every night. Canadian hip-hop icon (and poet laureate for his home province of Edmonton) Cadence Weapon (pictured above) followed, saying “This is no longer a showcase, it’s a hip-hop show,” before playing a large amount of material from his upcoming third album. I look forward to it.

After a fine set from Toronto’s own Young Empires, whose music was undoubtedly meant to be heard live, a handful of us cheat the festival’s rotating audience system (bands in smaller venues play two sets a night to different groups of delegates) to hear as much as possible from the phenomenal Icelandic ensemble (seven members on a very small stage) Of Monsters and Men. We will all be hearing much more from them in the coming year when their music finally sees release outside their homeland.

The next morning I wake up early to meet with virtuoso saxophonist and Polaris Prize nominee Colin Stetson, who grants TORO a last-minute interview ‘cause that’s just the kind of guy he is. Though he only plays a 20 minute noon-hour set I can easily say he is one of the most incredible performers I’ve seen in many years, a guy who puts everything he can, physically, creatively and mentally, into his instrument. Stay tuned for a full interview coming soon. That’s all for now, check back with me tomorrow!

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Arguably, the biggest news of the past 36 hours or so hasn't involved the Occupy Movement, Bradley Cooper's “sexiest man alive” title or the break up of (insert anyone here)'s relationship.

It's Benetton and their pro-mononucleosis ad campaign — a campaign focused on some very unlikely same-sex kisses, including an image of the Pope kissing an Imam that has since been pulled, thanks to the Vatican saying "please don't do this."

A shot of Obama and Hugo Chavez smooching is less controversial, likely because Republicans think it's undoctored. Why no picture of Ernie kissing Bert? I guess Benetton “felt” that was going too far.

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Looks like the Justin Bieber paternity lawsuit has been withdrawn by the accuser, whose lawyers have also quit as representatives. Sounds like a case of “made up pregnancy."

I can sympathize, as I am a child of “made up pregnancy." I feel terrible for having initially reporting on this clearly false Bieber accusation. 

If I'd known that this half-cocked, clearly not true story had clearly not been true, I never would have helped publicize it.

Unfortunately, Justin never got to record a musical response. Had he done so, I can't say I would have listened to it, but I would have reported on it. It probably would have been called “Not My Bieby” or “I Pull Out."

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Much like Willie Nelson's pot habit, the Herman Cain train keeps rolling along. It's been stymied somewhat by the various accusations of sexual harrassment being levelled at him.

It's also been a subject of parody thanks to the campaign ad featuring his campaign manager smoking a cigarette and Cain's “Imagine There's No Pizza” clip from his days as a cheese circle CEO. According to Huffington Post, that ad actually received props from none other the surprisingly still alive Henry Kissinger. Is praise from Kissinger a badge of honour? I always thought H.K was viewed by all as slightly more evil than a serial killer variety show.

I don't know what I think of Cain. I wasn't that impressed when he brought up using an electrical fence to control America's borders, because I accidentally walk into fences all the time, and that could result in me getting my hair frizzier than I could handle. The only way I could support Herman Cain is if he changed the U.S. currency into pizza. Pay me in snacks and I will do what you say!

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After several weeks of a press campaign for his new movie Tower Heist gone very wrong, Brett Ratner has resigned as producer of the 2012 Academy Awards.

The Oscars were in a “Rush Hour” to get rid of him after various gaffes, ranging from using homophobic slurs, making tech babe Olivia Munn “look like a whore”(his words) and violently screwing up a 'sawing my assistant in half' magic trick.

He released a statement apologizing for his words and resigning from the upcoming awards show, stressing how a heart full of love means nothing if the words coming from your mouth are in a language called 'douche' – I'm paraphrasing, but it was something like that. Who will they replace him with?

I suggest they hire the power duo of Nick Nolte AND Gary Busey. At least they're more likely to yell at inanimate objects than people.

And now Ratner ally Eddie Murphy has dropped out as Oscar host. Too bad, bigwigs were planning on giving Vampire In Brooklyn a lifetime achievement award if he decided to stay.

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Hey gang, Jesse Skinner here, reporting from Montreal for the sixth annual M for Montreal music festival! We have interviews, concert galleries and more to bring you but let’s start with what I know you’re dying to hear about: the minutiae of my daily routine!

We begin in an airplane soaring above the Earth, wherein I am reminded how frightening plane travel can be. To quell my temperament I turn attention to a feature unknown to me in the years since my last vacation: an optional digital map showing our travel distance so far, with a helpful airplane symbol in case we forget both where we are going and how we are getting there.

We land in Montreal under the thin glow of dusk … dusk coming at 4 IN THE AFTERNOON! This mildly interesting quirk of the weather takes up a good 10 minutes of conservation amongst my fellow delegates as we travel the “scenic route” through Montreal and toward our hotel, an hour-long stroll through construction sites, abandoned buildings, and lumps of brown earth that my fellow passenger Alan Cross later tells me should have taken a good 15 minutes. Finally we arrive, and oh boy this is a beautiful city. Interesting architecture everywhere, friendly people and low amounts of noise and human traffic. If I never come home, please ship my belongings.

After settling in at the posh Opus Hotel, I attend a delegates dinner, intended to bring different outlets together under the guise of consuming chicken. Only everyone seems to already know four of five people already, so I find a space at a table’s end and insert myself into a group conversation, with surprisingly excellent results! The festival has a broad range of attendees, from promoters to record producers to lowly reporters like myself.

After a long dinner we are shuffled like the world’s coolest field-trippers to the Café Campus, a local venue hosting a number of festival showcases. The night begins with Concrete Knives (pictured above), who came all the way from France to perform just about the best opening set I could imagine. They have the style of Yeah Yeah Yeahs with the energy of Wolf Parade, with a better rhythm section than both combined. My new favourite band, and yours too, are also friendly as hell (if hell were friendly, that is).

After enjoying that front row set with our photographer Andrew Colvin, local boys Claass begin their performance upstairs. I catch only a glimpse behind a sea of heads but I like what I hear, before claiming my spot to see another great act: Anorak. Their closest comparison may be fellow French nationals Phoenix, but they seem less interested in pop songwriting and more in, well, just getting people to move. And move they do, all throughout the highly energized and perfectly timed set.

And then I retire for the night, to rest up for more schmoozing and showcases. Again, I may never be coming home.

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As you may have heard, Eddie Murphy resigned as Oscars host shortly after Brett Ratner's exit as producer. They have now been replaced, with Brian “Buffet” Grazer as producer and (sad drum roll, please) Billy Crystal as host!

I can't say I'm overjoyed to know I'll have to stare at those Crystal balls all night. I got my fix of BilCry when I saw his one-man show 700 Sundays. It was a tour de forced emotion, and I loved every minute of it, but it satisfied my need to ever think of the man again. Yet here he is, taking over the reins from Eddie “doesn't need to do this because he has that Shrek money” Murphy.

What can we expect? Three words: schmaltz, schmaltz, schmaltz, and perhaps a Louis Armstrong impression.

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New York Fashion Week entails more standing than you would imagine. From queing for drinks to waiting for shows to commence, it calls for a lot of upright time. Ostensibly, it should be little more than sitting beside runways like a union-protected airport worker (but, you know with fewer airplanes).

However, for Fashion's Night Out - a Vogue-certified evening of sartorial showcases and scattered parties - Lenovo is previewing the new U300S in a Saks Fifth Avenue nook that features leather banquettes and copious laptop touching. It's from there that I will occasionally wander over and give you updates on the multi-level fashion festival.

9:00 - It occurrs to me that I already made a Dylan McKay reference, which is usually how I close missives. With that, my bowtie and I are off. Happy Fashion Week.

8:55  - A Jonas - he's no Dylan McKay - has caused a frenzy on the 7th, but no Jay-Z. I asked a pack of teenagers and they said they didn't know anything about it. Teenagers are useless.

8:47 - Who's Ne-Yo? He's wearing a nice hat. Sorry, I think I dropped something. By the way, I'm in the background of a bunch of tweeny camera phone photos. Did that sound creepy?

8:44 - Tom Ford eyewear: good; not A Single Man good, yet close.

8:42 - I just missed Chris Bosh shooting baskets on the 6th, but I'm from Toronto so... Incidentally, Alexander Wang is knocking it out of the park. Clearly, this is the men's floor so I've been distracted. Sorry.

8:39 - You can drink on the fifth floor, so my upward progress has been slow. And the Rebecca Minkoff booth is offering free hair braiding. Ibid.

8:19 - I saw this show where a lady dropped a name (i.e. "I was hanging out with Madonna...") and the guy sitting beside her leaned over, mimed picking something up, and said, "Sorry, I think you dropped something." Anyway, Jay-Z and Beyonce are supposedly dropping by Saks. I'm going to the 7th floor to investigate.

8:07 - I couldn't find the mayor. Maybe he's off suspending public transport for a rain storm. (I know, that's a hair past topical. Still...) Oh, and clearly I didn't look that hard, but I thought of that witty remark so I came back.

8:05 - There's a rumour the Mayor's here. I'm going on a mission to find him. I would have told you this earlier, but I stood in line to get back to the computer. I'm sure you appreciate it.

7:46 - After all that, a cover band is playing the Isley Brothers' "Shout." If ever there was a standing song...

 

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[html]Actor and comedian Patrice O’Neal has died at the age of 41, after suffering a stroke this past October 29 and a lifelong struggle with diabetes.

Aside from his extensive stand-up rep (best showcased on the Elephant in the Room album/DVD released this past February) O’Neal is known for various sitcom and panel show guest spots over the past decade, including Tough Crowd With Colin Quinn, Chappelle’s Show, Arrested Development, Assy McGee, and others, and his recurring radio appearances for The Opie and Anthony Show. That show had the unenviable task of announcing both O’Neal’s stroke and subsequent death this morning.

Elephant in the Room clip:



Tough Crowd With Colin Quinn:



Opie and Anthony:

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There was a time when the heavyweights truly ruled the world and boxing’s kings carried as much star power as Hollywood’s biggest celebs.

Olympic and Undisputed World Heavyweight champion Joe Frazier, who lost his battle with liver cancer yesterday at the age of 67, was one of the last of that era. So as he is mourned throughout the world, it’s for more than the man —  the hard-knuckled son of a South Carolina sharecropper, who fought his way to fame.

Yes, his battles with Muhammad Ali – the Fight of the Century, the Thrilla in Manila – will long be remembered. But as we say goodbye to Smokin’ Joe, those of us who were witness to it, are also bidding adieu to boxing’s glory years.

“The world has lost a great champion,” Ali remarked upon hearing of Frazier’s passing. “I will always remember Joe with respect and admiration.”

Here's a look back at some of his greatest moments in the ring...

 

1968 – Frazier vs Buster Mathis

1970 – Frazier vs Jimmy Ellis

1971 Fight of the Century - Frazier vs Ali

1975 Thrilla in Manila – Frazier vs Ali

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RIGHT HERE. You can rest your eyes now, world, because through the crowd of potential movie properties MGM executives have finally found what they’re looking for. Waldo and his gang of ... people with hats? I don’t remember ... will be making the leap to cinema screens everywhere.

For those of you saying a book of static pictures intended to keep children busy for 20 minutes at a time couldn’t possibly yield a feature-length story I say BALDERDASH. Waldo was already given the narrative treatment in a 1991 television series, which ran for 13 episodes or a grand total 286 MINUTES!!! There is no end to the story possibilities involving a man in a sweater with a stick who has a dog or something.

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It's back and this year, you don't need to enter a lottery for your chance to buy it. But if you are interested in scoring one of the 210 bottles of Sam Adams Utopias beer that the LCBO has secured for this holiday season, you'd do best not to put it off.

The beer, despite its price tag of $114.95 per bottle, will be in demand. It's a blend of strong beers that have been aged — some up to 16 years — in separate casks which have previously held bourbon, brandy, sherry and cognac. The final blend for 2011 is 25.5 per cent alcohol and is best savoured like a fine brandy upon the conclusion of a fine meal.

Vintages is limiting purchases to one per customer and will be selling them by telephone on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 9 a.m. on November 19.

 

 

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