George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight

***I have to admit to a bit of a faux pas here as I wrote this after episode one and unfortunately forgot to hit publish.  Apologies to you and to my editor.  चुम्बन Cordie ***

A quick note on my impression of the new season, and as usual I think it’s a mixed bag of great, and we’ll just have to get used to its! 

I found the opening to the new version of the show a little weak; too little Sloan to rev it up and get us going.  I also miss George chatting more to get the conversational feel to the show in tune.  Even the audience seemed low key!  I am hoping that George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight does not lose that conversational let’s slide out of this day and into comfort with an edge feel that we are all so used to.

The desk idea at this point is only okay in my books, but we’ll eventually get used to seeing him stand again as he did on Much and seeing less of the laid back George draped over the chair chatting.  Speaking of the red chairs, they are still there 🙂 They add an accent of energy to the new cosy set that is warm and den like with its blue hues and dimmer lighting.  Gone is the black, white and red set that emitted movement and energy and in its place is the warmth of the blue and wood tones.  Congratulations to ex Strombo Show sidekick and Gemini nominated Moneen Producer Alex Liu on the design of the new set.

Act one of the show still held a good balance of cynical, humorous look at the world in politics, sports, global events, and the environment.  I must admit to being a little curious as to what George was going to do with my favourite bit of the show; Mile-A-Minute.  I like the new title ‘de-briefing’, although I cringe at what the stalker like 40-ish going on pre-pubescent troll-women will do with that term 😦

He has left himself open to more than a few jokes when it comes to titles though already.  The title of the show George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight (GST) is both an homage to his ego/pride and part of a smart new marketing package.  Strombo is the brand, George Stroumboulopoulos is the man that IS that brand.  Now with a new 30 minute show named after him and a radio show named after the brand, the name is out there even more than before.  The decreased air time also means people that want more George/Strombo content will be forced to go online to find it and with any spare moment that might be freed up producing 5 1/2 hour shows as compared to 4 full hour ones, can now be put into his writing, producing and racing; a nice way to pave the new path in his career.  🙂

I found little changed in the rest of the show.  The interviews had the usual bio, once again being voiced over by George himself (thankfully) and the usual bits of the guests past, motivations to do what you do, extra curricular causes and what’s happening now and ahead; a well rounded interview style that George is well known for.




Dear Atticus and fellow Redchair enthusiasts …

Dear Atticus and readers:

We have been naughty posters haven’t we? Let’s get back into the habit of voicing our opinion on our fave red chair interests, extending that to the basement studio now too I see.  I would like to second my hurrah at the return of our beloved Bob to the air waves, and not just to the newest incarnation of The Strombo Show, but to his own morning show as well.  (hope the link works folks!!!)

There is nothing better than Bob’s soothing voice in the nasty early morning hours especially on a cold, windy, winter’s morn. Now we can all fall asleep to George and Bob on a Sunday evening and keep that musical manwich going during the week; crawling into bed with The Hour and waking up with CBC’s Radio 2 morning drive; not a bad deal in my book.

The one thing I must admit I am missing is the banter between Alex Liu and George. Although I am not sure those antics would translate to this seemingly more mature version of The Strombo Show I do still miss Alex. He made me laugh and raised George’s blood pressure (and octave level of his voice on occasion) just enough to keep things fun.

I’m very much looking forward to seeing how this new show evolves, and I am hoping that The Strombo Show has found a more permanent home.

The 24th Annual Gemini Awards

Congratulations to The Hour and OMAoG!!!

The nominations for the 24th Annual Gemini Awards came out today and once again our friends over at The Hour were recognized for their hard work and dedication.  In total the show, and it’s host, received four nominations including one for it’s interactive project last season with One Million Acts of Green.  Much congratulations to all those nominated, as well as those that put in the effort every day to make The Hour what it is, from all of us here at The Red Chair Lounge.

Of course the show itself was nominated in the ‘Best Talk Series’ category.  Jennifer Dettman, David Freeman and George Stroumboulopoulos are up against ‘The After Show’ on MTV as well as fellow CBCers, ‘The Steven and Chris Show’.  Note to Ms. Dettman: congratulations on your double nomination in this category and here’s hoping there are new episodes of The Steven and Chris Show at some point in the near future.

Mr. Stroumboulopoulos has also been nominated as ‘Best Host or Interviewer in a General/Human Interest or Talk Program or Series’ along with George Kourounis from Angry Planet(Island Caving), Austin Stevens of Austin Stevens Adventures (In the Shadow of Armoured Giants), Les Stroud of Survivorman Third Season and Matt Wells for Where You At Baby? (Huey Lewis). Although I have complained of George’s lack of edge this last season in his interviews I must admit I hope he makes a clean sweep and takes home this trinket as well.

The third nom for The Hour comes as no surprise at all, it is in the ‘Best Writing in an Information Program or Series’ category.  Although I do admit I am surprised which episode it was for, as I thought George went a little easy on Ms. Palin during their New Years Eve interview, however congratulations go out, from us, to David Freeman, Paul Bates, Diana Frances, Ken Hegan, Nick McCabe-Lokos, Carman Melville, Scott Montgomery, Adam Nicholls, Randy Potash as well as the man himself.

I must confess though if they were to win only one award, I desperately hope they take home the ‘Best Cross Platform Project’ Gemini. One Million Acts of Green, the interactive project that was on CBC, and the internet, campaigning for such a simple and important part of all of our lives simply must win at the Geminis this year!  Not because it means that Jennifer Dettman, Julie List, Alex Liu, Paul McGrath and George Stroumboulopoulos get to take home another dust collector but because the campaign’s importance hasn’t diminished, indeed the need for us to make a change grows each day.

Once again congratulations and the best of luck to all of our friends at The Hour!


More thoughts on HESEG

Since watching the interview with Heather Reisman and reading the article/comments here at The Red Chair, my curiosity regarding HESEG has been peaked. I had never heard of the organisation before reading about it here. This had me wondering a few things. Why my favourite host/program would not touch upon what seemed to be a hot political issue? Why not take the opportunity to have this conversation? It was my fear that The Hour was getting soft and avoiding controversial issues in favour of appeasing A-list guests to garner higher ratings. The old adage every one sells out eventually popped into my head and I could feel my heart breaking. The idea that one of my altars of worship might be avoiding the topic propelled me to do a little reading, to satisfy my own curiosity.

The first thing I noticed was that it is difficult to find main stream press on this subject. If you, dear readers, are aware of a reporter out there that has written an unbiased report on this organisation please comment so I can read more on HESEG. I mention unbiased because other than wiki I was unable to find one strictly fact based article regarding HESEG. The articles against outnumbered the articles in favour of, by far. The more I read, the more I came to realise that this foundation was not being looked at as a scholarship opportunity, but being tied in with political, social and religious issues that should be kept separate and apart from education. Then again I am an idealist and great at compartmentalising things.

The Anti-HESEG articles all focused on the biased view point that HESEG is supporting Israeli Apartheid. This is only one political view of a very complicated war, and is not what the scholarship program was established to do. The people receiving the scholarships are former soldiers, receiving an education to move on in a career and a life separate from the military. A former soldier is just that; no longer in the military, hence the term former. So, these arguments that HESEG supports the military are invalid in my book. The argument that only Jews can apply for the scholarship is valid, but doesn’t perturb me. HESEG appears to be a charitable organisation run by Jews for Jews. I hardly find this shocking. There are many scholarships around the world that come from business owners, social clubs, etc., that support a certain ethnicity, gender, age, area of study or club membership as a requirement for application.

There were a few other articles by religious leaders with the opposite bias in supporting both HESEG and the state of Israel; as well as an article in the Jerusalem Post.  In my opinion they supported HESEG for the same reasons that others opposed it; social, political and religious beliefs. This again leaves us with a biased report on a foundation that seemed to have had a simple idea that then became mired in the trappings of other issues.

I came to the conclusion that thus far in my education on the foundation, I have more questions than answers. I’ve also come to think that this may not be a public political issue. Perhaps this is a personal choice based on Ms. Reisman’s experience and views on society, politics and faith. Which leads me to the question of whether the funding for HESEG comes from the Indigo coffers or the CEO’s salary? I was not able to establish this searching the various sites that came up through Google. There is a difference in my opinion.

The salary that Heather Reisman earns as a CEO should be viewed as any other person’s. The charities that I choose to support are personal and private. I choose to support those charities based on my life experience and my social, political and faith based views. Most people do base their charitable contributions on similar criteria. If Reisman has set up this charity with her own salary, then she has every right to do so as long as no laws are broken. She is entitled to that choice whether or not other individuals agree. Just as the charities you volunteer for, donate money to, organise etc., are your private affair.

If the money is coming directly from that company, like the Chapter’s-Indigo love of reading foundation, then the board of directors and shareholders have a right to investigate. They can then discuss and vote on whether or not that charity fits with the image of their company. If they choose to then support that charity, then it is up to us as consumers to decide whether or not we want to support that business. Just as we decide whether or not to shop green, or made in Canada, or Fair Trade. We base our consumer choices on all sorts of ideologies every day. In the end it’s up to Ms. Reisman to decide if she wants to educate the public on her personal, or possibly public-business, charities; just as it is up to us to decide if we wish to support that business with our hard earned dollars.

I remember hearing George and other staff at The Hour claim that they respect people’s right to differing views and opinions. It is my hope that that is why they decided, at this time, to not delve into a topic that would require an in-depth conversation all of its own and not just a few seconds during that particular interview. I am suggesting that they offer Ms. Reisman an opportunity to sit with George and answer some questions regarding her charitable organisations, including HESEG. I’m sure the ratings could take it and the viewers would learn something as the set-up could include information from ‘both sides’. If Ms. Reisman does not have time for an on-air interview in her busy schedule perhaps issuing a statement linked to The Hour’s forum page would allow viewer’s to discuss the subject in a moderated environment where facts and mutual respect for opposing opinions are part of the rules.

All-in-all, I think I’d like to keep learning more about Ms. Reisman’s charity. As I said in my comment on LaBeauvoir’s article, I am a Chapter’s fan, so if my money is part of her companies charitable works, and if HESEG is one of those charities, I’d like to know. Taking all of the information into account I would then be able to make a decision on whether or not to keep including her company on my approved list. Big thanks to LaBeauvoir, once again, for bringing this to my attention in the first place.





Read all about it! The Hour misses the mark with Reisman

Heather Reisman; president and CEO of Indigo/Chapters

shes rich, shes powerful, she supports literacy…

40% of Canadian adults are functionally illiterate! Thats crazy. She’s helping to bring this to the government’s attention. However, why we would need a bookstore owner to bring this to the government’s attention says a lot about our government.

The Hour did a fantastic job of representing all of her positive qualities… so we don’t have too. In fact , the last quarter of the  Reisman segment seemed just like a Chapters infomercial. 

Even a small dose of critical questioning was missing from this interview.  

Now, im not here to attack the woman (or The Hour), and anyone can question whether the activities of a CEO outside of her work are material to the conversation, but i think it was not only purposeful but boring to ignore the controversy that Reisman has faced in the past, and that is just plain bad journalism.

I also think that the activities of a CEO ARE material to the conversation. we’ve congratulated other CEOs on here before for their charity and green efforts, there should be equal opportunity to reflect the bad just the same.  Even a brief mention in her bio about her controversial support of the Israeli military would have been sufficient.

I also am not here to pick sides within the Israel-Palestine conversation, but I don’t think it should be completely ignored either. 

The following few sentences were completely copied from another site 


Heather Reisman and (husband) Gerry Schwartz, the majority owners of Chapters Indigo Bookstores, have established a program called the “HESEG Foundation for lone soldiers”. HESEG offers grants of financial support to former ‘lone soldiers’ in the Israeli military to pursue post secondary education in Israel. At its peak, HESEG will distribute $3M per year to provide
scholarships and other support to former ‘lone soldiers’.

Lone soldiers are individuals who have no family in Israel but who decide to join the Israeli military. As Israeli soldiers, they participate in a military that operates checkpoints, that restricts Palestinian freedom of movement, enforces the occupation of Palestinian land, and has a documented history of human rights violations


Why should viewers care about this? Why should The Hour have asked about it? because people don’t necessarily know that when they spend money at Chapters it indirectly funds this foundation. Whether this foundation is right or wrong is another argument, but people should know where their money goes especially when the foundation in question deals with a conflict that affects  so many Canadians deeply and emotionally. This is necessary information and thats what journalists are supposed to give us, information.





This interview also could have given her an opportunity to explain her position, give her side- maybe people are missing something in their critique of her foundation? The Hour is usually good at letting people explain their opinions.

Shes a powerful woman with alot of money, and we have said this before: CEOs must be responsible. What she does is relevant to us and the conversation when it is Chapter’s customer’s money that is giving her the ability to create a foundation like this.

I would not be so critical of this interview if Reisman had been there with something important to talk about, but the discussion on literacy was done after about 4 minutes, and much of the rest of the conversation was fluff. There was an opportunity to have a real discussion, and The Hour missed the boat.

Its funny that Reisman mentioned that her  “2009 Canada Reads” choice is “The Book of Negroes”- A book being defended by Avi Lewis. Why is it funny? Because throughout the interview i was thinking: ‘Avi Lewis would not have let her get off so easy here’

It is also interesting that she said that her stores would never offer books that could “incite society toward the annihilation of one group” (i.e. Mein Kampf) and i think that is honourable… but slightly hypocritical considering her support of the Israeli military.


Its also Israeli Apartheid Week:

One Million Acts of Green

This is brilliant. Kudos to The Hour for stepping it up. As George and David Suzuki said in their conversation today, its not about being perfect its about taking steps toward being more green. So go for it, make a decision, register it on the site and prove that people can affect change.


Here is the e-mail that a member of the stroumboulopouli received today from
One Million Acts of Green and Environmental Defence: Greening Canada Together!

Have you switched your light bulbs to energy-efficient ones? Dropped your plastic water bottle for a safer reusable one? Bought locally grown fruits and vegetables? Started using toxic-free cleaning products in your home?
Now you can brag about these great green acts, and the dozens of other ways you are helping to protect the environment every day.

CBC, “The Hour” with George Stroumboulopoulos, Environmental Defence and environmental groups across the country are mobilizing Canadians to do one million acts of green!
Starting today, YOU can be part of this nationwide green movement. Check out this video from George Stroumboulopoulos.

One Million Acts of Green is all about one small act making a big difference. It’s about one act from individual Canadians adding up to a million. Whatever green act you do, register it on the One Million Acts of Green website to be counted.
The website is the hub of One Million Acts of Green, connecting Canadians from coast to coast to coast. It’s a virtual gathering place where people can add their green acts, view content, post photos and videos, create groups, and challenge others to act.

The more green acts you do, the more you get to brag! So, don’t just stop at one green act. Be loud and proud. Inspire your fellow Canadians with all of the great green acts you are doing!
We’re challenging everyone to get involved. From CBC TV and Radio, to schools and universities, communities and cities, politicians, athletes, and even celebrities!

One Million Acts of Green is a partnership between CBC and Cisco, and is supported by Environmental Defence as well as the Clean Air Foundation, The David Suzuki Foundation, Earth Day Canada, Evergreen, GreenNexxus, Green Street (managed by the Canadian Teachers’ Federation), and The Climate Project – Canada.
It’s one million acts of green, one act at a time.
Be one of the million. Register your green act today!

Watch The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos on CBC TV on Tuesday, October 21, 2008 (TONIGHT!) and Wednesday, October 22, 2008 at 11 pm for special One Million Acts of Green launch shows!

Dr. Samantha Nutt knows who is to blame…

Dr. Samantha Nutt, former guest of the Hour was in Toronto this past March to lecture at the university of Toronto. A friend of the Red Chair Lounge was there, and found a message worth sharing. READ ON! 


CLUSTER BOMBS: We are all implicated.


In March I went to see Dr. Samantha Nutt, founder and executive director of War Child Canada lecture at UofT’s Hart House for their Hancock lecture series. To say that I learned a great deal of mostly troubling facts would be a bit of an understatement.
Dr. Samantha Nutt is incredibly knowledgeable, inspiringly stern in her convictions and it all stems from her first-hand experience in war zones. She knows what is wrong and who is to blame, and she is not afraid to state it, which is why her speech began with a disclaimer: “The opinions stated here are my own, and not necessarily those of War Child Canada”…etc.

There was one particular aspect of her speech that struck me as it exited her mouth, and has stuck with me since then.

Dr. Nutt spoke about cluster bombs.

“A cluster bomb is a cannister that opens in midair and ejects hundreds of “bomb-lets” across an area of more or less two football fields. These bomb-lets are little metal balls – as powerful as a hand grenade. When these bomb-lets explode, there’s a rain of jagged shrapnel. When they explode on the ground with a time delay they kill or maim anyone within a radius of 10 to 15 meters.”
(The Real News Website)

These weapons of war are frightening, mostly because of the facts that come with them.

“as many as 1 in 4 of these bomb-lets never explode. The place where they fall becomes a minefield.” (The Real News Website)

Dr. Nutt explained that 98% of the victims of these unexploded bomblets are civilians, mostly children. Despite this the American Military maintain that they are a vital aspect of their war efforts and refuse to discontinue the practice.

And then there is us. What do we have to do with the problem, you wonder? 


Thats right. You are *unknowingly* paying for the production of cluster bombs, and the death of innocent people.

You know that bit of CPP you automatically pay into? that quiet deduction on your paystub? yeap, CPP invests “in corporations linked to the manufacture of anti-personnel landmines.” Thus, you also invest in corporations that manufacture cluster bombs. nice.

check out these links, or google this stuff for more information. Know what your government is doing, know where your money is going. 1, 2008/Cluster+bombs%3A+Hell+from+above

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