the most gorgeous and majestic creature, a corner man and a prisoner

Ladies and Gentlemen I know everyone is really just here to read about George being mauled by Robbie the Tiger? Oh shush.. he’s fine. I kid. I’ll get to the tiger part in a minute. I found it hard to concentrate on the rest of the show knowing that he would be on later – but there was a lot of program before the gorgeous cat. And that’s where I begin tonight’s recap.

Ramin Jahanbegloo  is an Iranian Canadian who suddenly found himself thrown into an Iranian prison. He was trying to enter Iran and instead was blindfolded and taken to solitary confinement in one of Iran’s most notorious prisons.  His cell measured 2×3 and had blankets on the floor instead of a bed. Iranian prisons are well known for their human rights violations including torture and murder. Mr. Jahanbegloo’s crime was that he had a Canadian passport which automatically made him a spy. He was also accused of starting a soft revolution. To survive the interogations and confinement he exercised as much as is possible in such a small space and read any books he could get a hold of.  He also used things like kleenex boxes to record his thoughts which he is now turning into a book.  His story is an important one in a world where a Canadian passport may not provide as much protection as we believe it will.

The “greatest corner man of all time” Angelo Dundee  was responsible for training 15 world champs – most famously Muhammad Ali who he calls “The Pied Piper”.  Dundee met  Ali when he was 16 years old and spent 21 years in his corner and following him around the world.  He was full of fascinating stories about their travels and the sport in general.   He was enlisted to train Russell Crowe to play Jim Braddock in Cinderella Man and he turned Will Smith into Ali.  His book My View From The Corner covers his 50 + years in the business. It’s one I intend to read!

And now for the most beautiful guest to ever sit in the red chair – or take up the entire stage.  Robbie the tiger.  As George giddily exclaimed while introducing the piece “It’s Tiger Time!”    Dave Salmoni was on The Hour a few months ago and George made an off hand comment about bringing a big cat the next time. So tonight Dave brought us Robbie, a tiger rescued from a life as a stripper’s pet, who now lives at the Bowmanville Zoo.   As he slowly took the stage I was struck by just how huge he was.  His head and paws were simply put – massive.  After a brief hello to George he settled down on the floor for several treats while Dave and George chatted.   George had what I can only imagine was the awesome experience of petting and feeding Robbie – I have to wonder how George’s own wee beasties reacted when he got home.

There are only about 5000 tigers left and in Asia they are competing for space and resources with 1/3 of the world’s population.  Dave suspects that in our life time their numbers may dwindle to nothing if not for breeding programs that provied a “genetic life boat”, breeding animals to be introduced into the wild when needed.  Zoo’s are a controversial topic at the best of time and lately – with the death of a teenager – they have been in the news.  It’s important to remember that animals no matter how well trained are all wild. They will do what comes naturally to them when provoked and will protect themselves instinctively.  They should be respected, cared for and protected. It’s people like Dave who bring their story to us and hopefully educate us enough to not endanger them any more than we already have.

Other little tidbits from the show..

-head to Tokyo if you want a sympathetic work place.. apparently a company there has started giving “Heartache Leave” to people who’ve had their heart’s broken  – it’s probably a good thing we don’t have this in North America

– according to the Cold Opener George will work for teddy bears

– Craig Ferguson is now an American citizen – congrats to him… I think?

– the 3 places you don’t want to be today –

3. Canadian Prairies where it was – 50C today – the same temperature as the South Pole!  

2. Train station in China – they shut down train travel at the station and 500,000 people were left stranded

1. Germany – a travel agency there is hosting a flight for nudists ( go watch the show to see George’s impression of what happens when a passenger arrives late and you’re already in your seat) – honourable mention goes to the NEXT flight on that plane

The Hour has had some pretty impressive guests over the years but who’s going to ever beat Robbie?  He was one helluva pretty kitty! 

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