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

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The week in preview...

Here's what coming up this week on The Hour...

Monday, January 28

At the age of 25, Emmy Award winning broadcaster
Lee Thomas discovered a few white spots on his scalp...the beginnings of the disease Vitiligo. Thomas has written a book, Turning White: A Memoir of Change, documenting his experience with this life -changing condition.“Even people who have known me for years avoid eye contact when they see my face without make-up for the first time." ~ Lee Thomas

If you have ever been fortunate enough to attend The Montreal Comedy Festival - Just for Laughs, you may have been able to catch the hilarity known as Jeremy Hotz.

In addition to being an observational stand-up comedian, Hotz has appeared in films and was a staff writer for The Jon Stewart Show. Canadians may also remember him for his Gemini-award winning role in the CBC comedy The Newsroom.

Tuesday, January 29

Legendary Boxing Hall of Fame trainer Angelo Dundee has worked with such sport icons as Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, George Foreman and Luis Rodriquez.

Dundee, born Angelo Mirena, was a technical advisor to Will Smith in the film Ali. He not only trained Russell Crowe for his role in Cinderella Man, but was seen in that movie as "Angelo, the Cornerman".

Also, a visit from "someone" who might look something like this...

Wednesday, January 30

In 1969, fourteen-year-old Jerry Levitan snuck into John Lennon's hotel room with his tape recorder and persuaded Lennon to do an interview.

In 2008, the short animated film I Met the Walrus, a narrative of the experience, was nominated for an Academy Award.

Thursday, January 31

Tremendously popular Canadian music superstar Michael Bublé will be making a return visit to The Hour.

I case you missed his last visit, you can check it out here.

But wait...there's more!!!
It's contest week on The Hour!!!

Once again, The Hour will be returning to England in February and to celebrate they are having a contest. If you are a fan of Coronation Street, then you will definately want to tune into The Hour this week for your chance to win a trip for two to the set of Coronation Street in Manchester, England!! Details regarding the contest can been found here. Good luck!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Called Into Action

The Stroumboulopouli are a passionate bunch. We don't always agree with one another, with some of our posters or with George's take on an issue - and that's healthy. There are moments when we feel it's important to share our views as a group. This is one of those moments.

Tuesday marked the passing of actor Heath Ledger. Only 28 - Ledger had a reputation for taking on diverse and challenging roles. Best known for his Oscar and BAFTA nominated role in 2005's Brokeback Mountain, Heath was an actor and director though he reportedly claimed his favourite role was as father to Matilda, his daughter with former partner Michelle Williams.

This post isn't about Heath really. It's about the ongoing heinous actions of Fred Phelps and the lemmings who comprise the membership of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka Kansas - a hate group masquerading as a 'Church'. Regarding Heath's death they released a horrific statement which George shared on air on Wednesday. A few of us happened to be in studio for a taping and the disgust for the WBC's intent to picket Ledger's funeral - because he had the audacity to portray a gay character - was palpable from both George and the audience.

For many viewers of The Hour, this week likely marks your first exposure to this group and their unique brand of garbage. The WBC recently celebrated the drowning murder of a 2 month old Wisconsin baby by its' mother and said 'Thank God for this latest tragedy'. The reason for this depraved statement? You see, God hates Wisconsin ever since a 2005 incident where a cop reputedly slapped a follower of WBC in the face in an unprovoked attack. Oh yes - God also hates Canada, Sweden, Mexico and Ireland. The WBC chose to picket the funerals of Coretta Scott King - widow of Martin Luther King and Fred Rogers.... yes Mister Rogers! Not for his sensitive attemps to explain to his young viewers about divorce and other 'non-Christian' acts that were part of their realities but for his failure to condemn homosexuality. Damned if you do, damned if you don't... is that the game we're playing here?

So on Wednesday... George leaped into this by stating that he doesn't have a lot of enemies that he creates, but that he was going to make one now, described the WBC's intent to picket Heath's service and posed an interesting challenge to viewers. Gather up their best leather gear, Village People outfit... maybe slap on a fake mustache, take a picture yourself and send it off to Fred Phelps. He supplied the address and in case you missed it, here goes - pay special attention to the Zip code!

Westboro Baptist Church
3701 SW 12th St
Topeka KS

I checked my wardrobe and though I might not have anything suitable for a pic, thought a nicely worded postcard to the church might suffice.

Think about what it truly means to be Christian. Your actions regarding Heath Ledger and all other innocent targets are hateful. If Hell exists, I suggest when YOUR time comes - dress lightly.

I'll close with a verse of lyrics from my favourite performer, Ron Sexsmith.


God loves everyone Like a mother loves her son
No strings at all
Never one to judge
Would never hold a grudge
'Bout what's been done
God loves everyone
There are no gates in heaven
Everyone gets in
Queer or straight Souls of every faith
Hell is in our minds. Hell is in this life. But when it's gone God takes everyone.

~ Tracy

My first taste of Fred Phelps and the filth of the Westboro Baptist Church was during the aftermath of Matthew Shepard's murder in October 1998. I knew then, and I know now, that there is still hatred and violence against the GLBT community... I've experienced some of it firsthand, but this "church" takes things to a whole new level.

It's obvious that Fred Phelps and the members of the WBC are attention whores, they take every chance they can with a high profile media event to make their proclamations of "faith". Protesting at the funeral of American soldiers, the victims of the Saga Mine disaster, they were even going to picket the funerals of the Amish school children killed in Pennsylvania in 2006 (which was only prevented by radio personality Mike Gallagher negotiating free air time for them in lieu of the picket). The list goes on and on... Virginia Tech, the collapse of the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis, the Finnish school shooting, etc. For me, it's no surprise that the WBC released one of their proclamations for the passing of Heath Ledger. I knew it was only a matter of time.

So what should we do about Phelps and his crooked church? Should we do something? Absolutely. Without question. The question is, what? What will make an impact on Phelps? I don't know if anything could ever make an impact or change his mind. Few people change their minds about this subject, particularly when skewed versions of religion are involved.

I love to hear about The Patriot Guard and their efforts to shield the families at funerals and I love that they rev their motorcycle engines to drown out the protest, I think they are doing a wonderful thing at an awful time in a family's life. However, to me, I think this news story sums up the best way to counter Phelps. In the days after the 9/11 attacks, Jared Daily saw the members of the WBC picketing, claiming "God Hates America". This was too much to take and he make his own sign, "Not Today Fred" and began protesting, alone. Soon, dozens of people had joined him, protesting with anti-hate signs and American flags. We're never going to change his mind, but we do need to show him that we are standing together, won't tolerate his bile. We all need to stand up and simply say:

"Not Today Fred"


This is not the first time a call to action has been heard from The Hour to the audience. The Hour has featured Stephen Lewis and others talking about - Make Poverty History and I was inspired to get involved over 18 months ago. I just got a newsletter from the organisation and here is some good news from them.

- Congratulations to all who signed the Make Poverty History petition to the Canadian Senate to act on the “Better Aid Bill” without delay. More than 11,000 supporters signed up within a week! And it worked!
With your support Bill C293 was moved to the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee where it is now being considered. After the Senate Committee deals with this bill it goes back to the whole Senate for a third and final vote. -

So adding a voice to an action can help. I was thinking of sending a simple postcard to Fred Phelps that says " Do onto others as you would have others do onto you" Do you think he will 'get it'? Kindness is a simple thing but it's sad that some people don't get it.


I should preface my comments by saying that I am not a religious person. Jokingly I tell people that I only attend church when someone is either married or buried. I tend to define myself as “spiritual”. As fate would have it, I happen to have many friends that are born again and define themselves as “Christian”. I think very few of them would use the words GOD and HATE in the same sentence, let alone in a web address. Most believers will tell you that God is LOVE. God loves EVERYONE, no matter who you are or what you’ve done. In NO part of "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" [John 3:16], do I read the words with the following exceptions: gays, lesbians, Catholics, Jews, etc.

So how does one “explain” Fred Phelps and his followers at the Westboro Baptist Church? From where I sit, these people use the convenient umbrella of religion to spew bigotry, intolerance, ignorance and distain. Contrary to what Mr. Phelps and his associates would have us believe, God doesn’t hate homosexuals, Canada, or the United States, among others…THEY DO.

With a bible in one hand and a sword of hate-mongering in the other, they seize any opportunity they can get to share their version of “truth” with the world.
With their choice of protest locations, the WBC has repeatedly demonstrated a complete lack of human decency and compassion. With respect to Mr. Ledger, I found this quote on by Shirley Phelps-Roper, “They are going to try and hide the body like a bunch of ghouls so we can't protest. The only thing in this country people worship more than filthy sex acts is the dead". How pathetic is that? Based on the definition of ghoul that I am familiar with, I would be curious to know whether Mrs. Phelps-Roper considers herself to be a ghoul as well. Are she and the other members of the WBC not feeding off the dead on a regular basis?

I took up George’s challenge Thursday morning. On the back of postcard with a photograph of a Canadian flag on the front, I sent the following message to Mr. Phelps:

“God loves everyone. As a TRUE believer, should you not be following His example by doing the same? I do hope that one day you aspire to become the Christian that you claim to be.”

~Steph A.

Okay, my turn.

This isn't a post about Heath. I will say, I was devastated by this loss. Not only for the industry but for the world. He was a great actor and a wonderful man.

I was in even more disbelief of the audacious, bigoted, hate mongering that Fred Phelps has bred and put forth.

Fred Phelps YOU ARE WRONG.

There are very few things I will come out and state regarding religious beliefs but I will state this: The Bible talks mainly about love and gratitude. It talks about "loving one another" and "Feeding the Hungry and Saving the Poor". It does not preach hate to homosexuals. While it does make statements about the act of homosexuality, the "loving one another" part overshadows any condemning.

But this... this is just ridiculous.... Heath Ledger was a CLEARLY straight man. ( Not that Phelps should be allowed to go after homosexuals because HE SHOULDN'T BE ALLOWED) But to go after someone for a role they played in a movie, after they have DIED so they aren't able to respond is abhorrent.


When talking about homosexuality with regards to God... it should be about love and understanding NOT hate and prejudice.

At a time of such sorrow for Ledger's family and friends, how can one man truly believe that by condemning Ledger to hell he isn't sinning. Isn't the act of causing conscious pain on others a sin???

I can only believe that God sees Phelps as a sinful man full of HATE. Whom He will punish accordingly.

After reading all the other events and people Phelps has protested I think it should be a weekly visit to the WBC website
to send messages of protest to Phelps for SUCKING AT LIVING. No one dead or alive deserves that kind of hate. Straight or Gay.


"When the toast is burned, and all the milk has turned and Capt. Crunch is wavin' farewell, when the BIG ONE finds you may this song remind you.... that they don't serve Breakfast in Hell."

Hope you enjoy your ride.


It's been a self-journey of outrage & disgust in learning more about this so called church.
God Hates You
God Hates Your Tears
God Is Your Enemy
Thank God for Dead Soldiers
Thank God for 9/11
Thank God for the Tsunami
These are just some of the signs & slogans they use when picketing & spewing their hate across the globe.

Fred Phelps Sr. started this church in 1955, after being voted out of his previous congregation, The Eastside Baptists (a traditional Baptist church). The WBC is not even recognized by any Baptist institution as being a Baptist Bible-following fellowship. Their members consist mainly of his 9 children, spouses, grand/great grandchildren & some Eastside members that followed him over.
They are not permitted to marry outside of the church and along with their hate mongering & warped teachings, they preach beliefs such as; menstruation is a curse from God upon lustful women. That God cursed Eve with a curse of blood & if a woman stays 'pure', then she will never menstruate.

In listening to a podcast from an interview his daughter, Shirley Phelps-Roper, did on The Kane Show in Wash. D.C. (Hot 99.5) just 10 days ago, she says the reason they are picketing Heath Ledgers Memorial & The Oscars, is because he deliberately took that role. He took a megaphone out to say that God is a liar, that homosexuality is acceptable, and that cheating is okay. He is now in Hell for it.
She also went on to say that his family is not grieving, but they're in full-on angry rebellion against God and they brought that wrath on themselves.

According to their faith, they have been brought here to inform this generation that everyone, with the exception of their church, is living in sin & going to Hell for it. That there are two types of people in this world and God hates them both.
Either you're a filthy practicing pervert or you're an enabler of their sin.

I can only hope that the media attention they are seeking, proves them to be what they really are.



It seems glaringly obvious to me.

~ Jenuine

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

'The Hour' of Influence

Watching television is a generally passive and in some cases a mindless activity. Many of us were told by our parents not to watch too much TV because it will ‘rot your brain’. There are a number of guilty pleasure offerings that deliver an enjoyable viewing experience, a fun escape and nothing more. In my opinion, not only is that acceptable, but totally cool… especially after a particularly challenging day. My favourite is the totally silly, endlessly watchable Kenny vs. Spenny. I trust you have your faves too.

But the question I pose to you is this. Has watching television and The Hour specifically, influenced you to turn passive viewing into action? When has something you’ve viewed on The Hour compelled YOU to get off your ass and do something in your own life? The blog group had been rolling this topic around for a while and after an email prompt from Erin – thank you Erin - here goes.

The Hour is a blend of sociopolitical figures discussing topics of National and International import, film makers, authors, adventurers, advocates, athletes and entertainers. Sprinkle in some pop culture, some feature pieces by the Hour’s contributors and even a short form ‘dramatic serial’ in the form of ‘2' and there you have it. Not an easy balance. Not always a perfect balance. But a sincere attempt to serve up something thought provoking and entertaining. Perhaps it’s the asides or the offhand comments by George or his guests that resonate with you most?

Many people were touched by the June Callwood interview - the last she granted before her death. Did it spur an action? Maybe you cried. Called your parents. Made a commitment to volunteer. Smiled quietly to yourself when the soup of the day was squash. On a deeper level, perhaps you realized that maybe instead of believing in God, you simply believed in kindness too?

So… spill. What action or actions have you taken as a result of viewing The Hour? Did you check out some new music, a book, TV show, film, begin paying closer attention to hard news, researched an NGO, or perhaps decided to 'Drop a Disc' to share your passion for music? Maybe you were even encouraged to vote – though if you live in Ontario, clearly not.

But I digress...

Monday, January 21, 2008

So how do you feel about your physician?

By no means is our health care system perfect, but perhaps we can tune in to the Dr. James Orbinski interview, coming up on The Hour, to reflect on just how fortunate we really are in this country.

My family doctor, whom I adore, respect immeasurably and feel very fortunate to have, quite often has a substitute filling in for her. I'm aware of her past holidays to see family abroad over the years, and completely realize that she has a life outside of her profession, although holding a B.Sc., MBChB, DRCOG & CCFBI, I don't imagine she has a lot of time on her hands. I ashamedly admit to having felt inconvenienced the first few times, but this was before I knew the reason behind her absences. I found out a few months later, that she is actively involved in MSF / Doctors Without Borders, and my respect for her sacrifices & ethics have grown even larger.

To follow-up on what I've read so far, I am eagerly awaiting Dr. James Orbinski 's upcoming interview (possibly this week, maybe next week).
A teaser from his NSB (National Speakers Bureau) Profile:
"Orbinski is an outspoken and passionate speaker who is deeply committed to the core principles of volunteerism and impartiality, with a belief that everyone deserves both medical assistance and the recognition of his or her humanity."

If you're interested, here's a fascinating link to a report on The Top Ten Most Underreported Humanitarian Stories of 2007 published by MSF - USA.

Happy health to all.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

This week in George.... Jan 20th -25

George is at Sundance this weekend taking care of business. Perhaps doing interviews for The Hour... He would be doing it for you. You think he likes to go to luxury resorts and talk to beautiful and/or interesting stars and view all those films when he could be at home watching TV and cleaning up after the cats? We can only speculate....

Sunday on the
The Strombo Show can he be in two places at once? Tune in and find out.

Coming up on The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos. Note this schedule may change, so please check back often.
...on The Hour
Where is David Frum
? This is going to be interesting. The man knows a bit about The White House and what goes on behind the scenes. He has written some of those scenes.
John Leguizamo
"A multi-faceted performer and Emmy Award winner, John Leguizamo has established a career that defies categorization. With boundless energy and creativity, his work in film, theatre, television, and literature covers a variety of genres, continually threatening to create a few of its own."

At last, the
Sinead O'Connor interview you have been waiting for.

Peter Bart and Peter Guber

As the Hour says 'Peter Bart and Peter Guber know more about the movie business than almost anyone out there. How is the writer's strike going effect The Oscars?'


The Doctor will not be in
Dr. James Orbinski talks about Doctors Without Borders and more.
In his place we will see
Wednesday, January 23, 2008 -- Ryan Stock and Amber Lynn Walker - Guinea Pig
plus in the audience Wednesday... all the strouboulopouli that write this blog will be there in some form or other... more on that later this week.

Thursday will be full of wonderful surprises... Maybe some of last weeks 'no shows' will show up here... again speculation.
This just in
Thursday, January 24, 2008 -- Pamela Wallin & Chris Nunez (Miami Ink)

and Friday is always the best of the week.
There you go.. that's the week in George.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Coming Up on The Hour January 14th-18th

Who's On this Week? Glad you Asked!

Monday January 14th - Athletes and Adventurers

He's a 4 time World Champion Canadian Figure Skater, the first man to land a quadruple jump in competition and a perpetual fan favourite. Kurt Browning will spin by The Hour to share what's up next for him.

You might not complain about your personal challenges quite as much after hearing from Warren MacDonald!
After losing both legs in a climbing accident in 1997, Wa rren has gone on to climb Mt. Killimanjaro, El Capitan and more... the author of 'A Test of Will' and subject of the documentary 'A Second Step' will join George.

Tuesday January 15th - Real and Reel life Drama

Belinda Stronach - Her name alone generates discussion and strong opinions. So much to be discussed ... her decision to leave politics to return to the family business, philanthropy, personal relationships and health. Tune in to see the conversation unfold as she returns to The Hour.

Nazneen Contractor- one of the Stars of the new CBC series "The Border" - a show described by the Executive Producer as "24, but with a conscience" will stop by The Hour on Tuesday.
Could this slick series make strides during neverending reruns caused by the writers strike?

Wednesday January 16th - Actor and Activist

A mainstay of Canadian television who's perhaps best known for his current role as the endearing and perpetually cranky Oscar Leroy on Corner Gas - Eric Peterson is a passionate champion of performers' rights and has actively lobbied for more Canadian dramatic programming. Peterson will be honoured with ACTRA Toronto's Award of Excellence in Feburary 2008.

* Note that this interview is scheduled to be taped Wednesday* It may air an alternate day

Thursday and Friday... nothing is officially listed.
Consult your crystal ball or better yet...
Check out the Schedule on the Hour's website for the latest updates!

Is an Hour not enough for ya? Check out the rotating clips of extras, outtakes, random musings and bizzare little gems on After the Hour.

Stroumboulopouli passes 100 000 views!

With all the hoopla and insanity of the Holiday season, we missed celebrating a big milestone here at the Stroumboulopouli... our 100, 000 view! It may be a little late, but honestly, who doesn't enjoy a little celebration in the middle of the January blahs???

Thanks to everyone who stops by to check out what's going on... if you're a lurker, come and post one of these days, we'd love to hear from you.

A quick game of blog trivia... what was the very first topic covered on this blog way back in May of 2006? Hey you! The one clicking on the blog archive... no cheating!!! Yes, that means YOU! ;)

I'll post the answer here later in the week.

Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The Strombo Show Observed

As you may know, The Strombo Show is hosted by George Stroumboulopoulos. It can be heard nationally on the Corus radio network every Sunday afternoon (5-8 pm EST / 2-5 pm PST). The show feeds to Y108 (Hamilton), FM96 (London), Power 97 (Winnipeg), 102.1 The Edge (Toronto) and The Fox (Vancouver)...

Let’s talk about what goes on at the radio station when George is doing his radio show.

You can find The Edge just outside Toronto's Eaton’s Centre on Yonge Street between Dundas and Queen Street. This past Sunday I was shopping in the Eaton’s Centre spending a little gift card money and I decided to stop by The Strombo Show to drop off a friend’s CD I was telling George about.

When I arrived in the street level studio, George was still prepping for the show with his radio crew. I got greeted, and waited my turn to chat with George about Blake Walters' CD, specifically my enjoyment of the song Mr. Exorcist. Not exactly The Edge’s style… but George might enjoy it. I give you the link to Blake Walters myspace page because you might enjoy it too.
I decided to stay in the studio and observe for a little while. I noticed Jim Richards of CFRB walking in to talk to his good buddy George. I made sure I had a chance to talk to Jim before he left. I am a fan.

Another person that was at the show that night was the publicist for Bif Naked. I saw her obvious concern for her client. She looked as worried as any relative or friend would be because Bif Naked was about to publicly reveal for the first time on air that she had breast cancer. It had been diagnosed very soon after her honeymoon. It was sad and inspirational to listen to Bif talk about her experiences with it. She has Punk attitude and she will need it. Good on her for being so brave and I wish her the best.

At the commercials I talked to Bob Mackowycz Jr. I told him stories I am not telling you, and asked his advice about stuff that will never go on air... is all I am saying and, he gave me a donut. I know, you're jealous about the donut. I understand.

I watched George's myspace page and facebook page from the other side. Not as a commenter and listener like I would be on any other Sunday but as an observer of the crew that monitors and reports to George on the comments being made by the participating audience (many of whom are friends).

A hopeful young musician also walked in that night to give George his band’s brand new CD called "Only Human". George asked him a bit about it, and played about 20 seconds of it, then let Matt know to hang around, he may play it on the show. As soon as I heard the 20 seconds of that track I had to go talk to that musician. I was impressed with what I had heard and I told him so. Matt Coatsworth is the 22 year old drummer in a young Toronto band called Isle of Thieves. {Vocals/Guitar: Japeth Lead Guitar: Mike Marsh Synths/Vocals: Justin Kwan Bass Guitar: Charles Canovas.}

Matt and I got to talking. I asked him about what brought him to this moment. The band had been together 2 years but they had not played in front of an audience more than 15 times. The five of them had worked hard in those two years rehearsing and working day jobs, pouring every spare penny into producing that CD. They had budgeted a good chunk of change to get it done right.
You can find some of that story on their myspace page.

That was not the only story going on behind the scenes at The Strombo show. A half dozen more musicians showed up to give George their CD’s and hoped for airplay too… They all chatted and networked as they listened to the radio show going on in front of them.

Near the end of the last hour of the show I saw George ask his tech to set up that Isle of Thieves CD... 'get it ready'. You could tell Matt was excited to have this opportunity to have his band's hard work played on radio for the first time. It was kind of like being at a baptism.
The CD was born and needed to be introduced officially to society.
I took pictures with my cell phone of Matt talking about the CD on air to George and of the moment the song was played on air to the nation wide audience of The Strombo Show.

Great moment!

Bob was very impressed with the way Matt promoted the band like a pro and was impressed by the song as well as he tells this to Matt off air in this photograph.

The Strombo show was finished for another Sunday night.

I walked out of the studio that night feeling like I saw a bit of magic happen.
I said goodbye to Matt and wished him the best of luck with his career.
As Matt walked across the street... he leaped in the air and gave a great cheer to express his joy about the outcome of the evenings events. I don't think his feet touched the ground for the rest of the evening... Another great moment!

I got a quote back from Japeth who is the songwriter and does vocals and Guitar for the band.

I wanted to know what the bands reaction was when they heard the song on the radio.
This is what he told me.

"I actually didn't hear the song on the radio directly - I heard it through a cell phone. Our guitarist, Mike, called his girlfriend and she placed her phone against the radio speakers. So there we were, the entire band sans Matt, gathered around a cell phone in a pub. I think the circumstances just added to the uniqueness of the experience. We did not we plan on sending Matt to the Edge studio on that night. The plan for the night was to go to a pub and simply celebrate the completion of the album. When Matt told us he was going to give the album to George, I didn't really think it was going to end up on the air. So it was quite a surprise. I was definitely excited, and happy to hear the track on the radio. We all were. I had always dreamed of hearing my songs on the radio since I was a kid, so when it happened, it felt right. It felt nothing less than perfect.I missed Matt's interview but I do know that he is a natural at promoting us. lol. Do you know if transcripts of the show are available? The gathering around the cell phone was nice, but hearing the whole thing clearly might even be better!!"

Monday, January 07, 2008

Bringing us into the New Year....

For the show's first full week of 2008, here's what's coming up:

Monday , Jan 07
Douglas Coupland
Coupland Hero
Canadian fiction writer who mixes art and life.
Author of Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture & Life After God.

Tuesday , Jan 08
Les Stroud
les stroud
Canadian musician, film maker, and survival enthusiast. (Survivor Man)

Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings
Bachman Cummings
Legendary Canadian rockers honouring the past with their new CD, 'Jukebox'.

Wednesday , Jan 09
Mark Messier
Messier, Mark
A hockey icon & recent inductee into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Thursday , Jan 10
Warren Macdonald
warren macdonald
Tackling the world's tallest peaks without his legs.

Sir Jackie Stewart
Jackie Stewart, Monaco 75 en ballade
legendary Scottish racing driver & winner of
three F1 World Championships and 27 Grand Prix races.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Media: How far is TOO far?

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. But how far is too far when it comes down to obtaining and broadcasting or publishing these images?

I am sure that by now many have viewed the most recent episode in the ongoing saga of Britney Spears. In case you missed it, as a private familial situation spiralled out of control and the police where summoned to her home, a media circus began to erupt. Photographers, camera operators and news helicopters were all trying to obtain images of the unfolding events.

One could argue that celebrities such as Ms. Spears, Lindsay Lohan or Paris Hilton, depend upon the media and paparazzi. If no one is seeking them out, then they are no longer on the “it” list. Their relationship with the media is truly a double edge sword. Yes, the media will be there to benefit them in the good times. But then they will also be quite willing to document the bad times as well. Personally, I have never been a fan of Ms. Spears and I admit that in the past I have snickered as she was mocked in the court of public opinion. But clearly this woman is in need of help. Yes, she is in the public eye, but are there not some events that should be left untouched by the media?

How would we feel if our personal unravelling was documented for all to see? Do we as a society contribute to this problem by purchasing the publications found in the check-out lane of the grocery store? If there were not a demand for these images, would the media circus even have happen in the first place? I appreciated the “Paris Free” zone established by The Hour last season. Perhaps a “Britney Free” zone will be featured this season.

Of course the glare of the media spotlight is not limited to celebrities. As humans we are typically curious about the events that surround us and the media is quite willing to satisfy that curiosity using the journalistic rule of “if it bleeds, it leads”. With each passing year, I find this concept to be less appealing and often distasteful. This weekend I was disappointed in the editorial decision of a Toronto newspaper for their choice of the front page photo used to illustrate the story surrounding a candlelit vigil held in memory of a 14 year-old murder victim. The photo was a close-up of her obviously grieving younger brother. Yes, the photo may be worth a thousand words and clearly demonstrates the loss felt by the family. But I also believe that there are some “images” that should be left unseen.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

This just in...

Today, from The Hour's website...

"The Hour's video podcast was recognized by iTunes staff as the best new video podcast of 2007. The podcast consistently ranks as one of the most popular in Canada, with nearly 100,000 downloads a week".