Whiskey and Cream: Episode 005

Whiskey & Cream for December 23rd, 2020.

Host: Ari Shapiro

0:36-7:35: “A kinder, gentler brand of politics”

It always comes down to the fundamentals, that we’re different from them. That’s how it feels looking at the United States from a distinctly Canadian perspective. The pandemic has caused immeasurable harm to the very fabric of their society in ways that defies the imagination and begs the question: why isn’t more being done to help their citizens during a time when compassion is needed more than ever. And why does their culturally innate suspicion of government and resistance to being told what’s best for them – inevitably finds a way of steering them into the realm of greed, paranoia and conspiracy? Furthermore, one has to wonder if a correlation exist between populist and progressive governments when it comes to empathy in their political leaders?

Warren Kinsella (@kinsellawarren) is a celebrated Canadian lawyer, author and musician who has appeared in The Globe and Mail, the Ottawa Citizen and the National Post. He’s collaborated and interacted with numerous prime ministers and political bigwigs during his time, and when it comes to understanding the true merits of effective governance, his take on the differences between Canada and the United States during this global pandemic is squarely focused at our existential differences and how having trust in government is essentially what separates our two democracies.

7:44-13:48: “The men and women of science were correct”

Toronto is heading towards a lockdown on Boxing Day, an announcement that sent shockwaves through those living in Ontario and across Canada. A first wave that was met head-on by the conservative government in the province has long been forgotten in the face of a second wave that’s exposed a shocking level of excuses, pivoting and the passing of the coronavirus buck. With Ontario averaging over 28 deaths a day, the sense of urgency has never been greater even if the credibility of the messengers seems minimized by their tendency to speak out of both sides of their mouths.

Mary Ormsby (@MaryOrmsby) is one of Canada’s most respected journalists who has covered Olympic games, World Cups, and major professional leagues across North America for over three decades while writing for The Toronto Star. She’s spearheaded features about concussions, women in sports, homelessness and clergy abuse with award-winning features spanning over three decades of investigative journalism. For her, Doug Ford presents two phases – or “faces” as she calls them – that’s tested her limits when it comes to political leadership. Whereas she felt he was the right leader at the right time for the first wave of COVID-19, his foot-dragging disposition and chronic insistence of ignoring the men and women of science who were correct is making her wonder why a lockdown didn’t happen sooner.

13:51-18:22: “Always eliminate the window dressing”

Vaccine-hesitancy has quickly become one of the most controversial terms of the day, and when you eliminate the window dressing, it essentially bogs down to a tempting desire to reach for conspiracies over having the gumption to explore the real truth. Behind masks, behind social distancing, behind a vaccine to help keep us safe and healthy. But in an era where the written word has caused so much harm, are we perhaps underestimating the power of the spoken word?

Adam Corsair (@AdamCorsair) is a professional baseball and basketball podcaster whose literary passion for the Toronto Raptors and Blue Jays makes him an instant favourite here at Whiskey & Cream. His heart may be Canadian, but his family lives in Rhode Island – where faulty information and propaganda remains a daily battle for sweet, lucid sanity. His craft is reflected nicely in the gorgeous tonality and dissonant manner to which he passionately explains his plight in a world where fiction becomes fact in the click of play button.

18:35-22:44: “The Coronavirus Athlete”

Living during a global pandemic as a sports fan means settling for a new reality where your season, playoffs, rules and regulations seem permanently amorphous and subject to change. And that’s left some armchair fans scratching their heads and wondering if an asterisk needs to be deployed as a reminder that these achievements are happening during exceptional times. But as the business side of hockey, baseball, football and basketball continue to forge ahead amidst all this societal doom and gloom, there’s immense solace to be found in the astonishing power of sport and what it can do for a stir-crazy, cabin-fevered audience that can’t leave the house to enjoy Pascal Siakam, Auston Matthews or Bo Bichette.

Jim Lang (@JimLangSports) is Canadian sportscaster, writer and radio host who has covered major sports… For him, escapism is about savouring the real stories of courage and fortitude that exist to help soothe our burgeoning layers of anxiety and depression. That means embracing the notion that things will get better if we support those who train, excel and overachieve in pursuit of sporting excellence. In doing so, he tips his hat to the modern day coronavirus athlete.

“Whiskey & Cream Theme” written and performed by Chris Henderson.

Whiskey and Cream: Episode 004

Whiskey & Cream for December 18th, 2020.

Host: Ari Shapiro

0:35-6:51: “A Hill To Die On: The Future of the NHL”

It’s not hard to admire the way Gary Bettman and the NHL handled their season in the face of a global pandemic. Although they lost millions of dollars in playoff revenue, they ultimately succeeded in bringing their sport back to the masses in a way that made the Stanley Cup seem like a holy grail during dark times – and all you had to do was take one look at Victor Hedman’s face after the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Dallas Stars to win their second Stanley Cup to really understand what it meant to the players and their fans.

But now there’s trouble in paradise, as is the case with any league that has a profit-oriented group of owners who love real estate development taking on a powerful union of players who won’t back down after the lockout fiasco in 2004. With a healthy league growing in non-traditional markets and hockey related revenues firmly and fairly where they should be, it’s hard to fathom that the NHL could easily shoot themselves in the foot if they aren’t careful.

Luke Armstrong (@armstrongthings) is a Canadian sports blogger and writer whose work has been featured on Sports Illustrated and The Sporting News. His recent article entitled “COVID-19’s Impacts on the Future of the NHL” looks deeper at what sort of options exist for the NHL as they enter the daunting reality not trying to ruin a good thing.

7:03-11:55: “The Pandemic Never Ended In July”

It took Senator Republican leader Mitch McConnell six weeks to recognize the new President of the United States, and so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that, finally, after nearly 10 months, their Congress is on the verge of putting together bona fide economic stimulus legislation that’s presumably designed to take care of their weakest and most downtrodden citizens.

But considering that 40 million Americans are at risk of losing their homes due to an inability to pay their rent or mortgage, and that millions more are flocking to unemployment insurance and food banks, it’s hard to imagine that the world’s richest country has failed so miserably to help their own taxpayers – especially considering the way Canadians have witnessed their own federal government from the start of the year.

Emily Stewart (@EmilyStewartM) is a business and politics reporter for Vox News, and has been seen on MSN, CNBC, Yahoo Finance, to name but a few. Her recent articles on how the United States government is tackling COVID-19 from an economic perspective reveals a colder and harder reality where the concepts of empathy and fairness of leadership seems harder and harder to find as time goes by.

12:02-16:35: “The Tampa Raptors in the Land of COVID-19”

The Toronto Raptors basketball club will be spending their 2021 season in Tampa, and that means learning about COVID cases from afar and having to endure the physical loss of the only Canadian team playing in one of the worst pandemic outbreak states in the union. But that being said, it’s also a chance for the NBA to prove that their league is a cut above the rest – and that a harmonious relationship between players and ownership has commissioner Adam Silver and company to dream bigger and bolder than ever before.

Josh Weinstein (@joshhweinstein) is the NBA editor for The Score and has written for the Raptors Republic. For him, the team is embarking into uncharted waters with their new digs down south, but he’s optimistic that the league will continue to lead by example and show their fans that the future is bright and worth believing in.

16:48-21:35: “Profit over Practicality”

It’s not a stretch to think that Major League Baseball and the National Football League really blew it when it came to monetizing their seasons. Sure, they wanted to bring back their respective forms of entertainment and escapism, but in the end of just seemed like a stumbling, bumbling mess of execution. The end results were appalling; endless cases of infection, oddly disjointed travel schedules, and a sense of general calamity.

Sam Mendelsohn (@Mendy_Island) is an NFL writer and sports betting analyst for Odds Shark, and he understood early on why baseball and football were choosing profit over practicality when it came to ushering back their limited seasons.

“Whiskey & Cream Theme” written and performed by Chris Henderson.

Whiskey and Cream: Episode 003

Whiskey & Cream for December 5th, 2020.

Host: Ari Shapiro

0:35-8:51: “Music is medicine”

Canadian music correspondent, blogger and radio host Eric Alper (@ThatEricAlper) is celebrated as one of the country’s best known and in-demand industry influencers. He shares his love of music in a candid way that’s brought him real peace and serenity – even if he’s not certain about what the future holds. In his world, it’s all about survival of the fittest and staying resilient at time filled with cruel, lingering memories and ruthlessly shortened attention spans.

9:05-15:44: “A system so profoundly corrupt”

Marshall Auerback (@Mauerback) is a research associate and celebrated economist who writes for multiple front-line and mainstream publications across the globe – including The Nation and Counterpunch. His academic research and political opinions are as fair as they are pragmatic, which makes him a rarity in this world. And he understands better than most why Canadians should be fortunate they aren’t more like their neighbours down to the south.

16:01-23:51: “An intrepid Torontonian”

Karim Kanji (@karimkanji) is a senior digital strategist by day and one of Toronto’s most popular podcasters at night; his branded series Welcome To The Music offers him tremendous opportunity to interview actors, musicians, politicians and activists that have made him proud to call Toronto home. In doing so, he offers an organic perspective of how he’s personally endured an entirely avoidable wave of coronavirus danger in his beloved city.

“Whiskey & Cream Theme” written and performed by Chris Henderson.

Ari Shapiro on TSN 1260 (Edmonton) – The Corey Graham Show (12-02-20)

My latest appearance (12-02-20) on TSN 1260 Radio (Edmonton) with host Corey Graham (@CoreyGraham) talking Blue Jays, Maple Leafs, the fate of the SkyDome, and those fabulous but extinct Montreal Expos.

We discussed the Blue Jays off-season strategy, what will become of the taxpayer-funded SkyDome in the face of looming real estate ambitions from their ownership group, why an Expos renaissance is in the works across most of Canada, why fans should remain excited about the Maple Leafs, and how Gary Bettman and the NHL shouldn’t ruin the momentum of a pandemic-influenced season by not allowing millionaires to continue bickering with billionaires.

Be sure to check out Corey’s fine show on TSN radio (@TSN1260) and don’t forget to catch the latest episode of the Whiskey & Cream podcast at arishapiro.ca.

Whiskey and Cream Episode 002

Whiskey & Cream for November 30th, 2020.

Host: Ari Shapiro

0:35-8:31
America’s leading psychiatrist Dr. Allen Frances (@AllenFrancesMD) provides an unflinchingly scathing assessment of the Donald Trump presidency and explores how the country is dealing with the mental health fallout of a sustained period of anxiety and depression. He also delineates the fundamental differences between Canada and the rest of North America when it comes to struggling with the global pandemic. Note: “Twilight of American Sanity: A Psychiatrist Analyzes The Age Of Trump” published in 2017 is your tome of reference and is worth a deeper dive.

8:35-13:28
Conservative MP for Dufferin-Caledon and rural internet crusader Kyle Seeback (@kyleseeback) drops by to remind us all why internet in Canada remains a travesty, and how his grass roots efforts and social media efforts have rallied the cause for rural Ontarians struggling with affordability and accessibility. This segment is sponsored by: Cloudwifi (@cloudwifiinc).

13:35-18:53
Author of the Baseball Thesaurus and 2019 Minor League Broadcaster of the Year Jesse Goldberg-Strassler (@jgoldstrass) is in studio to talk about the pending extinction of the SkyDome and how the Blue Jays organization could approach the end of an era with reasons for optimism from the fans and hope for fellow Torontonians who cherish the memories brought forth from consecutive world championships in the 90’s.

19:01-24:47
Sportsnet journalist and site expert of Tip of The Tower, David Morassutti (@d_morassutti) joins the show to elucidate on why the Toronto Maple Leafs remain the most inspiring draw in professional sports across a city that’s three generations removed from the last time they won anything worthwhile. Some would say it’s a tragic comedy, but this segment may change your mind.

“Whiskey & Cream Theme” written and performed by Chris Henderson.

Whiskey and Cream Episode 001

Whiskey & Cream for November 26th, 2020.

Host: Ari Shapiro

0:28-5:31
Author and Montreal Expos historian Danny Gallagher (@dannogallagher7) talks about the resurgence of Montreal Expos memorabilia and what seems like a true renaissance of fan interest in the wake of his new book (Always Remember, New Revelations and Old Tales about the Montreal Expos).

6:50-8:01
Podcaster and AMI radio host Cam Jenkins (@NeutralZoneCamJ) offers his thoughts on the pandemic reality affecting disabled fans of spectator sports.

9:30-17:54
Writer and Pension Plan Puppets blogger Omar White (@TicTacTOmar) delivers an eloquent rant in his summation of the madness behind recent Toronto Maples Leafs free agent acquisitions and where this hockey team stands today.

18:42-20:23
Site expert of Editor-In-Leaf and writer James Tanner (@EditorinLeaf) chimes in with a brazen attempt to help digest the identity of this club after the surrealism of the Mike Babcock era and why he thinks fans need to have a more realistic perspective moving forward.

20:24-23:20
Texas Rangers assistant pitching analyst Richard Birfer (@richardbirfs) can’t quit baseball and believes that neither should you.

23:20-28:10
Excerpts from a recent Toronto Raptors round table with members of Shapiro’s League of Seven; lawyer and college basketball player Mick Sloniowksi (@MSloniowski), economist and writer Marshall Auerback (@mauerback) and producer and political consultant Jon Reid (@JReid416).

“Whiskey & Cream Theme” written and performed by Chris Henderson.

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