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Dear Urban Diplomat: what do I do about my wife’s erotic CBC fan fiction?

Dear Urban Diplomat: CBC Fan Fic

(Image: Peter Rogers)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I discovered my wife’s erotic fan fiction starring a certain personality from CBC’s The National. It’s astonishingly steamy stuff. What should I make of it?

—Fiction Friction, Summerhill

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Culture

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Breaking: CBC cuts over 600 jobs

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CBC News announced today that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation will be cutting 657 jobs over the next two years, the result of $130 million in cuts from its budget this year. The cuts also mean that Canada’s national broadcaster will no longer have the resources to compete against private networks for pro sports broadcast rights.

At a town hall meeting with staff today, CBC president and CEO Hubert T. Lacroix attributed the cuts to a $115 million loss in federal funding that came with the 2012 federal budget and a drop in projected revenue resulting from CBC losing Hockey Night in Canada to Rogers. Declining ad revenue and the network’s failure in delivering the coveted 25-54 demographic to advertisers are also responsible.

The network has also announced that they will not be replacing George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight. But really, who could ever replace George Stroumboulopoulos? A pre-faded Hot Topic London Calling shirt stuffed with old leaves and jammed inside a used leather jacket? Not in the budget, friends.

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Random Stuff

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CBC does God’s work, tracking the hipsterfication of Spadina Avenue

(Screenshot/CBC)

(Screenshot/CBC)

Trigger warning for hipster content.

Have you walked up and down Spadina Avenue lately? If so, you’re probably a hipster, trawling the Chinatown strip, turning crummy t-shirt wholesalers into board-game cafes as if by the sheer force of fickle taste-making willpower.

Yes, Old Chinatown has a problem. And that problem is hipsters. But the CBC, ever vigilant, is keeping a watchful eye on the trendification of the street with a new interactive feature.

CBC’s Spadina’s Hipster Makeover asks readers to submit “examples of traditional Spadina shops transforming for a new clientele.” The accompanying graphic features a Spadina street sign decked out in a fuzzy beard (because hipsters love beards, and will go to insane lengths to acquire them) and sunglasses (because hipsters are extra-sensitive to the blinding tyranny of the sun, probably because they’re always hungover from drinking bespoke IPAs all night—or possibly because they’re vampires). It basically looks like if Zach Galifianakis was a street sign.

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Sports

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Strombo’s talk-show career is dead; long live Strombo’s hockey-announcer career

(Image: Strombo: JMacPherson; Cherry: CBC/Screenshot)

(Image: Strombo: JMacPherson; Cherry: CBC/Screenshot)

Here’s your roundup of all today’s exciting George Stroumboulopoulos news: according to reports out of CBC and Rogers Media, the earringed one will be giving up his talk show, George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight, and accepting a new gig as the host of Hockey Night in Canada. The move is the first big staffing change to be announced by Rogers since it bought the rights to Canadian NHL broadcasts—including Hockey Night in Canada—for $5.2 billion late last year.

The Canadian Press is reporting that Strombo’s time on HNIC will begin with the next hockey season, in October 2014. His face will be virtually inescapable for Canadian hockey fans: Rogers now has a monopoly on hockey in this country, and so the new host’s duties extend not only to CBC, but also to broadcasts on City, Sportsnet and any other channels or websites that might conceivably contain a picture of a hockey rink. Don Cherry, Ron MacLean and the rest of the gang are said to be retaining their jobs for the time being (the Rogers deal only guarantees the continued existence of HNIC on CBC for four years), but a press release indicates that their roles will be reduced.

Considering the utter failure of his attempted expansion into the U.S. talk-show arena, this may be Strombo’s one realistic shot at advancing his television career. He’ll be the de facto face of Canada’s national sport, and Canada will have to get used to him, if it can.

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The List: The Daily Show’s Samantha Bee tells us the 10 things she can’t live without

The Daily Show’s funniest correspondent returns home this month as a panellist on the CBC’s annual book battle, Canada Reads. We talked to her about her essential items.

The List: the Daily Show's Samantha Bee tells us the 10 things she can't live without

1 | My Céline brass cuff
It’s one of the only pieces of jewellery I ever bought for myself. It’s made so many boring outfits
look kinda good.

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Events

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Five things to do in Toronto on the weekend of February 21—23

Yorkville will host an ice-carving competition this weekend. (Image: Florin Chelaru)

Yorkville will host an ice-carving competition this weekend. (Image: Florin Chelaru)

In this edition of The Weekender, tropical ice sculptures, an industrial bazaar and three more things to do in Toronto this weekend.

BEER

Winter Beer Fest
Drown February blues in copious amounts of craft beer at this Danforth bar’s annual festival, featuring breweries like Junction Craft, Granite Brewery, Flying Monkeys and West Avenue Cider. There will also be snacks from The Blade and Butcher, and tunes from local bands like The Condor Boys. Feb. 21—Feb. 22. Entrance is free, tasting tickets are $1 each. The Only Cafe, 972 Danforth Ave., theonlycafe.com

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Features

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Well, Hi There: Jian Ghomeshi, live and off the air

Jian Ghomeshi’s climb to the top of the CBC required plenty of ambition, glad-handing, star-chasing, stubble maintenance and serial dating, plus a couple of workplace meltdowns

Well, Hi There: Jian Ghomeshi, live and off the air

One day, roughly five years ago, Jian Ghomeshi got a severe headache and felt sharp pains in his chest. “I thought I must have a brain tumour or be experiencing a heart attack—that I must be dying,” he says now. A few days later, he started to feel dizzy, had trouble breathing and headed for the nearest emergency room. The doctor took note of his symptoms and asked if he’d done any coke (he hadn’t). It turned out to be a panic attack, and he was eventually diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. He now visits a midtown psychologist once a week. When the demands of hosting Q, Ghomeshi’s CBC radio show, don’t allow him to leave the office, he and his shrink talk over Skype. The sessions help him cope. “I’ve worked through a lot,” he says. “Feeling like an outsider because of my Iranian background, trust issues. A lot of not feeling good enough.”

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Sports

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Hockey Night in Canada to become Hockey Weekend in Canada?

(Image: Dan Heap)

(Image: Dan Heap)

When Rogers announced that it had bought the rights to all of Canada’s NHL broadcasts, it was immediately clear that the prognosis for CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada wasn’t going to be great. Under the deal, Rogers gets complete creative and financial control of the iconic show, meaning it could make big changes without consulting the CBC. And now it’s becoming apparent that the telecommunications giant is even planning on introducing some competition into the mix: a second hockey night.

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Politics

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The CBC’s Carol Off calls out Conrad Black for appearing to forget how to conduct an interview

(Image: Black: Canadian Film Centre)

(Image: Black: George Pimentel)

By now, pretty much everyone agrees that Conrad Black’s softball interview with Rob Ford was bad—except for Rob Ford himself, which makes the situation all the more worrying. Part of the problem was that his Lordship missed just about every opportunity to ask pertinent follow-up questions of the sort they teach you on the first day of journalism school. Follow-up questions are doubly important when the interview subject admits right off the bat that he or she has a tendency to lie about things, as Ford did.

One of the more egregious examples was when Ford made the completely unfounded assertion that the police chief Blair is motivated by a political agenda that could take down the mayor. Here, one would expect the interviewer to ask something along the lines of, “What makes you say that?” If that’s too difficult, a simple “huh?” would have done the trick.

It’s for this reason that Black deserved to get called out for the botched interview, and he did yesterday when he was interviewed on CBC’s As it Happens. He got called out hard.

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Politics

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The nine most outrageous things that Rob Ford has said in the past 24 hours

Stripped of almost all his mayoral responsibilities, Rob Ford appears to be easing into his new full-time position: self-aggrandizing spin machine. Since yesterday evening, Toronto’s sort-of mayor has appeared on CBC, CNN and NBC, as well as his new Sun News Network show, repeating a series of folksy talking points about not being perfect and siding with “poor people” instead of “rich people” like himself. But is Ford’s media blitz is really helping his case?  With each interview, his explanations become more convoluted, his rants more unhinged and his denials less plausible. Below, we pull out the day’s most bizarre quotes.


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Culture

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VIDEO: Watch Hockey Night in Canada’s Ron MacLean dance groovily to “Let Your Backbone Slide”

 

Ron MacLean is known for many things: his vast knowledge of hockey, his life-saving dip in the Delaware River and his patience with Don Cherry. Now, we can add “dancing” to that list. Zip ahead to 2:00 of this live performance of “Watch Your Backbone Slide” to see McLean slide on stage with Maestro Fresh Wes and do a one-legged groove reminiscent of everyone’s favourite uncle at a wedding with an open bar (there’s some great faux-punch interaction between the two Canadian media titans at about 3:20, too). The event, which also featured the stars of Battle of the Blades, was part of the CBC Connects lunchtime events that happen in the atrium of their building every Wednesday at noon.

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Culture

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See, Hear, Read: eight hot new books, albums and shows—including Stephen Harper’s hockey tome

The scoop on the month’s red-hot releases

See, Hear, Read: The month's eight hottest books, albums and shows

Stephen Harper as a budding young right-winger

A Canadian Prime Minister writing a book about hockey is a little like an Australian PM writing about kangaroos: the stuff of hack comedy. And yet—A Great Game: The Forgotten Leafs and the Rise of Professional Hockey, a nostalgic look at the sport’s pre-history, is the literary debut of Stephen Harper (a more writerly “Stephen J. Harper” on the cover). Harper, who laced up for the Leaside Lions as a kid and is a member of the Society for International Hockey Research, has been dropping hints about the book for years and claims to have spent a whopping 15 minutes a day on the tome. (He reportedly also employed a researcher and got advice from sports writer Roy McGregor, though his publisher claims every word in it is his own.) You could fill a small-town arena with the number of hockey books that come out every year, but Harper’s is the only one with a prorogued Parliament as part of its pre-publication build-up.


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Columns

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Memoir: how I put an end to my extended adolescence

When I became a father, I decided it was time to make the long-delayed leap into adulthood. The best way to be a grown-up, I reckoned, was to look like one

Memoir: how I put an end to my extended adolescenceOne night four years ago, I was rocking my infant son to sleep and he looked at me with that soul-searching gaze all babies have. I could almost hear him saying, “So, you’re going to teach me how to be a man.” In that moment it dawned on me that I didn’t really know what it meant to be a man.’

Like many men of my generation, I’d lived an extended adolescence. Even as an adult, I bought all the toy robots I wanted and watched The Matrix on loop. I neither learned nor cared to learn the so-called manly skills of past generations: how to fix things around the house, how to polish my shoes, how to change the oil in my car. As a result, I entered many situations as a boy instead of a man, fumbling my way through.

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People

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Strombo is getting his own show on CNN this summer

(Image: CBC)

George Stroumboulopoulos sure has come a long way from his days as the cooler-than-thou host of The New Music on MuchMusic. Canadian TV’s most eligible vegan has been tapped to host a new 10-episode series on CNN this summer. The hour-long show, whose name has not yet been released, will be filmed in Los Angeles, and will air during prime time on Fridays starting May 31. The format will be similar the one on George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight—namely, celebrity interviews conducted in front of a live audience (the CBC show is still scheduled to return for a tenth season in the fall). The addition to CNN’s summer line up is part of the broadcaster’s ongoing efforts to appeal to a younger audience by bringing in younger, hipper hosts—no word, yet, on whether that includes Strombo’s signature red armchairs. [Deadline]

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