The Stroumboulopouli

The Stroumboulopouli

The place to get the latest news on what’s coming up on #Gtonight. Find out what Canada’s boyfriend is up to. Share stories, pictures, favourite tv and radio episodes.

CBC TV & Radio shows plus HNIC

His work with Artists for Peace and Justice

UN Ambassadorship for The World Food Programme

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The interview with George Stroumboulopoulos

About three weeks ago we took your questions and some questions of our own and asked George if he wouldn't mind answering them. The man does not do interviews for the main stream media but he did this for us. We are so far from main stream and media for that matter... ;-)
I had tons of help from recent Seneca graduate Stephanie D. in producing this video clip.
If you can forgive my amateur style and sit through a 30 minute interview online... I promise you will enjoy the George portions of this interview.
Barbara W.

Monday, May 28, 2007

THE LIST: My Top 5 Reasons to go and see The Hour live

1. The “In Case of Fire” Directions...

At the beginning of every show, Kevin comes over to the audience to give his “Here is what you do if the fire alarm goes off” speech. These instructions involve going right, left, straight and diagonal. You must move through hallways and doors of red, blue, green, and yellow. Take some twists and turns, up and down some stairs, and follow the glowing signs and huzzah! You are safely of the building. Every time I go I swear that I will pay close attention and actually figure it out, and every time I go I start to fade out after the first turn. Truthfully, I’m not convinced that Kevin’s directions are for real, and if they are, well, we’re all in a lot of trouble.

2. A Place where Everybody Knows your Name.

The first time I went George asked my name. The second time I went he knew my name. The third time I went not only did George remember me four months later, but some of the other staff also knew my name. Plus, George remembered who I had come to the show with before, asked about them, mentioned some things we had talked about in the past, and generally flustered me completely. I was amazed. George, and the rest of the staff at The Hour, really make you feel welcome, appreciated, and a little bit special.

3. He’s Even Funnier Off the Air…

George’s jokes and stories on TV are funny. George’s jokes, stories and his question and answer with the audience in between takes are better. He’s so incredibly laid back, so comfortable and willing to talk about anything that I’m often laughing so hard, I’m crying.

4. Hugs, Photos, Conversations and those Red Chairs

I love to watch the show – on TV or live – because I always learn something. I find a new book to read, a new movie to check out, a new political or religious organization to hate or to love. However, on TV you don’t get a hug from George at the end of the show. You don’t get to become a photo whore and take 50 pictures of and with George. On TV you can’t have 5, 10, 15, 20 minute conversations with George about anything and everything. Finally, and most important, on TV you can only admire those nice red chairs from afar, but when you are there and George is in a particularly good mood you can sit in them, you can sit in them with George and chat for a while (and they are quite comfy).

5. A true "Happy Hour"

For me, seeing the show live is worth missing an afternoon of work, worth the hour on the GO Train from Hamilton, and worth the scary freight elevator that takes you up to the studio. Seeing the show taped live, meeting George in person, having him remember you and take the time to talk with you - it’s worth whatever it took to get you there (skipping school, working overtime, using a vacation day, lying to your parents/partner/kids) It’s all worth it. If you haven’t gone, go. If you have gone, go again. It’s different and better each and every time.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Two new podcasts by Alex & Nick.. go listen!

I was coming here to post that Episode 2 was up and when I went to get the blurb about it I found that Episode 3 is now there as well! Here's the synopsis of each episode straight from the site.

Episode 2: Get out the yellow tape :
Cop killers, hung over home invasions and three thumbed pigs. It’s all there in Hot Dog Log Jam Episode 2.

I'd stay away from these guys and/or their friends on Halloween after listening to this one.

Episode 3: You’re searching for good times: Here’s another scorcher. We’ve got stories about real life time travel, working, Perfect Strangers, squatting in Birmingham and getting high on cough syrup. It’s about time.

I've not listened to this one yet but I'll bet it's good. Go listen to the boys at It'll be good for you. Well it'll at least be an amusing way to spend some time.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Rebuttal re Richard Dawkins.

The Rebuttal against Richard Dawkins and his appearance on The Hour

"Science without Religion is Lame. Religion without Science is blind."

These words are my favorite quote from Albert Einstein. And while some can be critical of him for dropping out of high school, the man is considered a genius. He is one of the most intelligent people of the Twentieth Century.

From his quotes, he has an interesting take on religion. He does not accept a personal God, but he still believes in a mystical divinity, an order to the Universe. He can reject and accept religion at the same time. He understands the need for God, he discussed God in some of his most famous sayings.

Originally, I wished to look at Einstein as a way to refute Dawkins and his God Delusion book, because of Dawkins comments on the Hour. The alarming quote is: "It is beyond belief that every single member of the United States Senate, of the United States Congress, is Religious. Of course they're not. At least some of them are intelligent and educated."

George directly concluded that Dawkins had meant "intelligent people have to be atheists," and while Dawkins said that was what George read into the comment, he never refuted the statement. Dawkins remained one step shy of confirming George's interpretation. He never said "of course intelligent people can be religious." He let George's conclusion stand and moved on, statement made, and no apology for any offence it might cause.

I found it quite offensive. I am a non-denominational Christian. I believe in God, the basic tenants of the religion, but I do not attend a church. While I wish to read The God Delusion, if only to better understand the man before I can counter his argument against gods and religion, I wanted to hold up a beacon to show his comment was inappropriate.

Religious people can be intelligent. Many people who have achieved great things are considered highly intelligent and are religious on some level.

So I remembered the quote from Einstein. And I began to research the man, his work, his quotes… Yes, Albert was a physicist, but he has profound wisdom in every quote I have come across. He was a Jew in Germany, managed to be in America and remain there after Hitler passed the
Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service which removed Jewish people from any political office and started the dark road towards many bad things.

Of course, learning this information led me in a new direction. Political movements that excluded religion seemed like something else to view. As Einstein saw the dark shadows of war and escaped Nazi Germany, I was seeing something else in my pursuit of my position. A world where being religious, whether for a specific denomination or in any form, had been considered illegal.

Communist Russia is what comes to mind. The Soviet Union seems like a failed experiment now that it has passed, and one thing people were forbidden to have was religious freedom. This might be more extreme than what Dawkins suggests in not allowing religion to mingle with politics, but there is a history of religious exclusivity and religious exclusion throughout history.

To eliminate one (or several) religious group from political office, as was the state of Nazi Germany, or banning all religion in favor of the state, as we have seen in Communist Russia through the Twentieth Century, seems to indicate the removal of personal beliefs in any setting are signs of an oppressive regime.

But then, promotion of a specific Religion can be just as oppressive, which is also a hallmark of society. There are always small factions that shout so loud they seem like the only branch of a particular religion. It is easy to see why Dawkins would see the danger of organized religion or believing in a god when hatred and bloodshed can follow.

Dawkins has seen an America managed by Christianity, and he does not like it. He wishes to crusade against it. How strange that he has a crusade, something we associate with religion forcing itself into war. But what good things have come from leaders being religious? America had a civil war, as one leader, Abraham Lincoln, sought to abolish slavery. There was an ideal that everyone was equal. And while it is still something America has to work on, there is a religious morality behind it.

If we studied the issue, I am sure we could find as many good examples of religious inspired leadership as we could find the tragic conflicts Dawkins would side with. But ultimately, it comes back to his comment on intelligence. Einstein's articles and some quotes would almost seem to support Dawkins, through Einstein's belief that ethics are not indicative of religious belief.

Yet so many quotes from Einstein mention God, or mysticism, and he is quite upset with Atheists. It really makes me interested in Dawkins and his work to see if Einstein is ever mentioned. Why? Specifically, this quote from Albert Einstein is key:
"In view of such harmony in the cosmos which I, with my limited human understanding, am able to recognize, there are yet people who say there is no God. But what really makes me angry is that they quote me for the support of such views."
— Prince Hubertus zu Löwenstein, Towards the Further Shore (Victor Gollancz, London, 1968), p. 156; quoted in
Jammer, p. 97
I do not have Dawkin's book, so I cannot see if he ever looks at Einstein to support his positions. I hope he does not. I did visit Dawkin's web site. It is quite self serving. All of the notable quotes are from Dawkins. The site plays out as a biologist's crusade to eliminate God from how the world is run.

However, that is Communism, isn't it? Elimination of religion from the state? Did we not see stories in the 1990s where people rejoiced at being able to go back to Church and worship openly in Russia? The downfall of Communism allowed their long secret beliefs to flourish once more. But if there was no God, and from 1917 until 1991 the Communist state suppressed religion, and did not allow it to rule, how could that religion survive through several generations unless there was true passion and desire for it?

I believe in God. It is not the same as most people do, but I know that despite everything biology and evolution can teach, for everything Science says "if you cannot prove this it is only theory and not fact," I have to go back to the quote that Einstein mentioned at the start.

And surely, if Science and Religion are supposed to work together, as was claimed by the most famous genius of the last century, why can't Politics and Religion come together?

For every atrocity we have seen perpetrated by a small group using religion for their own causes, can we not also see a good cause? Street ministries caring for the homeless, feeding the hungry, laws being passed to allow equality, freedom of belief, all stemming from morality that could be found without religion, but at the same time, working because someone was religious, and read words in a book we might call Bible that said "Love thy neighbour" or "So whatever you do to the least of my brothers…"

Atheist means without God. And yes, we see many bad things in the name of God, or whatever the religion might name the deity of power. But to imagine this universe is so random, so ordered and complex without any thought to organize it or start it running, and if so many can go out, build houses, schools, bridges, feed the hungry, irrigate fields crippled by drought, and care for the sick, the dying, and even the dead… because of religion, how can someone only focus on the bad?

Maybe we have seen the rise of certain religious denominations in political office and experienced the horror of it, as we have seen with Nazi Germany. But we have also experienced the removal of religion from government and even society, as we saw with Communism. Dawkins seeks one extreme. American politics seems like another right now. To find the true spirit of a free world, of an accepting and tolerant world, you cannot eliminate someone from holding a position based on having a religious belief or morals shaped by that belief.

Fascism, Communism, extremes of what can go wrong when we limit the rights to believe something and still be active in shaping society. Is America becoming another example of the extreme of Religious influence? Dawkins thinks so, and there is always that possibility. But to hint that people who are intelligent would be atheists, to call for the removal of all religion from politics is just another extreme position that excludes one group or another from participating. That is the true threat to freedom, and the true insult to people everywhere: the insult of exclusion because one person's belief is different. Not better, not worse, just different.

I thought morality and ethics were supposed to fix that little problem.

Guest blogger

Saturday, May 19, 2007

May 20 - 25 what's up?

If you wanted to see it live in studio this week this is the schedule as of May 19th.
Monday, May 21st - SOLD OUT
Tuesday, May 22nd - SOLD OUT
Wednesday, May 23rd
Thursday, May 24th - taping with Lowell Bergman 1:30 - 2:00pm
Thursday, May 24th - SOLD OUT
Sunday May 20th.
Will the Strombo Show be live?
I asked the man in person on Thursday and he was not sure at the time.
As it turned out it was live. Just Bob and George. It was great. Just like old times.
Monday May 21st
William Joseph is David Foster's next big star...
Ex-Gay Movement:
One of the films being screened at the gay and lesbian film festival taking place in Toronto this week, is a documentary called Abomination, about the ex-gay movement.
Is Monday night still disinformation night?
Harry Shearer of The Simpsons, of This is Spinal Tap
Tuesday May 22nd
Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club and his latest book 'Rant'.
Wednesday May 23
They are taping a show for airing later in June... Hockey is still preempting the show.
Thursday May 24rd
Pulitzer-prize winning Journalist, Lowell Bergman will be on the show.
I am hoping by Friday we will have our own interview to present to you on this blog...
In a series called She Asked.... we start with She Asked George Stroumboulopoulos.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

What's on The Hour This Week (May 14th)

According to The Hour's website and the CBC Program Guide...

Monday, May 14th

Michael Buble (Canadian singer)

Tom Anderson (MySpace founder and most popular friend)
There is a lot of controversy about this guy. I wonder how the conversation will go.

Tuesday, May 15th

Sean Cullen (Canadian comedian and actor)
I sure loved him in Corky and the Juice Pigs. Besides seeing him at Montreal's Just for Laughs comedy festival and I have also seen while I was out on a run - he was shooting a commercial in a park near my house. A little weird to see a dude in a top hat when I am used to seeing kids playing soccer and dog walkers.

Wednesday, May 16th

Tom Morello (guitarist from Rage Against the Machine)

Thursday, May 17th

Likely pre-empted by hockey.

* Guests subject to change. Check the official site for the latest schedule.

Alex's new podcast

Any of you who have listened to the Strombo Show on Sunday nights will be familiar with George's friend and coworker Alex. He and his friend Nick have started a new podcast and even though Alex wasn't very pleased with some of my comments during last week's show I thought I'd promote it anyway. I had a listen and enjoyed it. Here's what the man himself had to say on a myspace bulletin.

Hey Everyone! The Hot Dog Log Jam is finally up and running. It's a podcast filled with hilarity and music. So if you like to laugh and if you like to listen to wicked awesome music then check out It's suppose to be updated weekly and you're suppose to be able to subscribe to it and all that bloggy type stuff. hopefully we got it working.

So go have a listen. If you like Alex on the Strombo show (personally he's usually my favourite part of the show) then here's a chance to take in a bit more of the Alex experience.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Old vs New Media - Timeliness

Old media versus new media. You may be familiar with these terms – especially if you are someone that regularly visits news websites, blogs or appreciates citizen journalism. If you are not familiar, but frequent sites like YouTube, or Flickr, you are enjoying new media without even knowing it. Yes, even this blog counts.

In any case, I have been thinking about how shows like The Hour are mixing the old and the new and having varying degrees of success with the mix. There are many aspects to this topic so I am thinking that a few blog entries will result from my reflections. Let’s begin with how old media can often lag behind new media in terms of what they report.

I am tempted to subtitle this entry ‘the decline of the supper time news hour’. It comes from my observation of the ABC World News that airs on week nights. I generally like their coverage (especially enjoyed it when Peter Jennings was the anchor) and I watch it after my local news to gain a quick American perspective on things. However, it happens routinely that they report something that I have already learned about 2 days before via the Internet (sometimes I saw it a week before or even months before). I have heard it said that the traditional supper time news show is for older generations and during these yesterday’s news moments I believe it. It is not for the younger web savvy folk. (It is also reinforced when I see all of those commercials for prescription medication and chronic illness.)

These belated news items indicate to me that they are playing catch-up for baby boomers and seniors, getting them up to speed with what the kids these days already know. Their viewership did not find the news item in question on their own so they talk about it during the TV news hour. At least, this is how it seems. Still, that does not explain why the producers and journalists either take their time in finding the news item or bringing it to air. Does it only become TV newsworthy when it is old news for the people who get the bulk of their information from new media news sources?

I find that The Hour is not so behind. Yes, there have been the occasional items that were time delayed. Minor ones like how I first heard about the condoms size issue in India back in December. Though this is more an exception than the rule. Especially this season I find that George will typically mention something the very day that it comes to light on the Internet. At least for the news items. The scheduling of interviews clearly are affected by availability - not a timeliness issue.

I imagine that the Hour writers and producers are much like me - surfing the Net, seeking out newsworthy stories big and small, as well as randomly finding things that turn into bigger stories. I do it for my own knowledge (and for some blogging I do). It is a part of my generation’s culture to access and exchange information in this manner. Even more so for those younger than I. Quick example - I attended SXSW Interactive this year and experienced the Twitter explosion. Digital word of mouth came alive. It was really neat.

Likely there are many on The Hour’s staff who, like me and others outside of old media, do the whole search the web thing as much for their own purposes as they do it to spread the word to those who don’t have the time, opportunity or inclination to do it for themselves. It seems to me that many in the TV news hour business are acting as a bridge between an older world and a newer one. The Hour happens to be more relevant and timely compared to many other old media news sources.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

What May come up this week on The Hour

No live George on the Strombo show this Sunday... Bob and Alex host.
But this is what's coming up on The Hour

Monday May 7th

Richard Dawkins calls for ban of religion in politics and schools.

Hugh Dillon, Canadian actor and musician.

They are also taping Michael Buble on Monday but I am uncertain as to when they will air that.

Tuesday May 8th

.... Hockey?

Wednesday May 9th

Eddie Izzard “comedy is the new rock and roll”.

Thursday May 10th

Ralph Nader once wrote a book about Canada's accomplishments. He ran for President of the USA. He fights for environmental issues and has been doing so for decades... I hope they dedicate the entire Hour to him.

To find out more about the upcoming guests please follow the links provided.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The set up...

Erin had an idea for the stroumboulopouli. Why don't we interview George for the blog?
I asked George if he would do the interview and he agreed. I asked him if we could videotape it and he agreed to that as well. We taped it May 2nd and will have it up in a week or two.
Many people have questions for George and I invited people to suggest questions for the interview.

This is what Erin wrote in response to the news that George will agree to the interview:
Out of all the questions I suggested, I hope you'll consider asking:
Between the show, email, myspace, facebook, and you make yourself available to your fans. Why is this dialogue between your audience and you so important?

George agreeing to this interview is just further demonstration that he appreciates his fans and having open communication with him. I haven't actually met any other celebrities but I don't think this is a common occurrence and George should be commended for it.

Myself, I've spoken with George a couple of times this past year. Each time, he blows my mind.

I met him for the first time in October and I remember shaking his hand and saying "Nice to meet you" and his response was "No, what's your name?" and I was blown away that this guy who has interviewed anyone-who's-anyone and meets hundred's of fans a week is actually wanting to know my name. Then in December, 2 months later, I went to another taping. While standing in line to enter the studio, George came over tapped me on the shoulder and said "how's it going?" and struck up a conversation. Once, we got inside my friend said to me, George remembers you. I just shook my head and said no way. After the taping, I stayed to ask him a question and his comment was "You've been here before." Blew me away, I had met the guy 2 months earlier and not said anything worth remembering, in my recollection.

In January, I sent an email to one of George's email addresses with a show idea. Only to get a email reply back asking for my number. George called me to say it was a good idea and they were considering doing the show....craziness to have George actually call me. Although, I completely blew the phone call and unfortunately my brain was snatched and I turned into a valleygirl - the words shut up and totally actually left my mouth....not the greatest part of the memory.

Anyways, in February, I again went to the show. George was extremely sick (however, he hid it well, total professional and I didn't realize until after I had waited to speak to him). I didn't get to talk to him as he had to go to the doctors but before he left he said that he knew who I was, that he called me and he had my number. Just when I didn't think I could be impressed anymore by the man...without me introducing myself and only speaking with him 3 times, he actually knew and recognize me.

I'm extremely impressed with the man and I am constantly recommending the Hour to my friends.I don't think my experience is uncommon which is why I'm so curious why dialogue with fans is so important to George. Is he just a nice guy? Is he trying to increase viewership? Is he going for sainthood? All of the above?

Anyways, that's my lengthy explanation...I'm really glad you decided to pursue this blog idea.

All the best,

So we did the interview and will have it posted in a couple of weeks...

I think you may be surprised by the answers.

One thing I can tell you in advance is The Hour will run all summer long. The show will stop taping mid June but will air taped shows that have not yet been seen and best of shows all summer long.
The man does turn off the blackberry before an interview

Barbara W.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Child Soldier

I have to admit as Ishmael Beah, author of A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of Boy Soldier, spoke I was both shaken and moved. What he spoke of was so foreign to anything I have seen or felt as a middle class Canadian. I don’t think I romanticize violence or war, but I know that I have the luxury to see it as entertainment through the TV shows I watch and the movies I see. I don’t exactly know how easily I will consume it now.

Before seeing this interview on The Hour I was aware of child soldiers. I have read the news stories about Africa’s “lost boys’. I have seen them on Oprah. But this interview touched me in a different way than previous exposures to this topic, to these individuals. I think that is perhaps due to the pacing of the interview. It did not feel rushed or forced. There were no platitudes, no hyperbole. Some might argue otherwise, but I think George’s sincerity and sensitivity helped make this so.

Of course, Ishmael's eloquence and composure was influential as well. It amazed me to see such candor and strength from someone who had lived through such destruction, been so vulnerable, and experienced such manipulation. I was mesmerized by his presence, drawn into his story. He was a very articulate speaker so I expect that the book will be just as engaging, just as thoughtful, and just as painful. I am definitely getting myself a copy.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

And Last But Not Least... Okay Just Late....

Hi!!! Let me introduce myself.....

I'm Janna. Most of you probably know me as J.

I am the latest member of The Stroumboulopouli. And really "better late then never" is what I always think I should say. I actually say "I may be late but I am worth the wait!" Which I hope is true in this case as well.

I have been a viewer since Season Two and I am a huge fan. I try to pretend I am not but I am.
Although, I think Barbara is a way bigger fan then me. LOL! Right, B?

And I have always wanted to be part of this blog. *eyes glaze over in a starlit swoon* and I asked and here I am.

I am fairly opinionated in 3D life and I imagine that will make me even more in 2D and I am not shy about emailing George my opinions on his show or his work or just him.

I like a good debate and I know there are good debaters out there... so I can only hope we have fun getting to know each other and debating the show.

That is one thing George is really good for... CONTROVERSY!

He is also a really great artist as a whole. He is super intelligent which makes him great to watch. He does his preparation for his work, which makes him super professional. And he is a super nice guy! (It took a while to be convinced he was.)

More then that he is politically and socially conscious... and I love that. It means I can watch a Canadian television show and have a dialogue with someone regarding the content. Almost unheard of in our country. I can even have a dialogue with the host of the show!

Well there you go... that is a little about me and what I hope to bring to this blog.

So drop me a line... say "hello".... or throw out a challenge. You know, whatever floats your boat.