OPENING NOTES

Diana upgrades her smile, the RCMP studies some counterfeit loons, and Moscow gets some U.S. aid

July 24 1989

OPENING NOTES

Diana upgrades her smile, the RCMP studies some counterfeit loons, and Moscow gets some U.S. aid

July 24 1989

OPENING NOTES

Diana upgrades her smile, the RCMP studies some counterfeit loons, and Moscow gets some U.S. aid

HOLDING THE HOT SEAT

After Ralph Klein won a seat in the Alberta legislature last March, Calgary city council members unanimously chose alder-man Donald Hartman, a 20-year veteran of council, to serve as interim mayor until October. But Hartman has had a rough ride in the mayor's chair. Last week, in the latest of several confrontations with the press, Hartman accused Calgary Herald reporter Robert Beaty of harassing him—and warned Beaty that he was under surveillance. Said Hartman: "I have people watching you." And Hartman's controversial acts as mayor—among them seemingly taking sides in the abortion issue by proclaiming Right-to-Life Week last month—have prompted the city's 11 aldermen to consider rescinding his appointment. As a result, critics, including the Herald, have concluded that Hartman is not fit for the top municipal job. Said the newspaper in a July 12 editorial: "Hartman should save himself the time, money and mortification and not run for mayor in October." The honeymoon is clearly over.

Hartman and his wife, Peggy: a brief honeymoon as mayor

Close scrutiny of a princess’s smile

When Diana, Princess of Wales, checked into a London hospital last April, spokesmen for the Royal Family announced that she had done so in order to have her wisdom teeth removed.

But four days after she left the hospital, Diana showed no signs of postsurgery pain as she attended a charity event—where she easily consumed a three-course lunch that ranged from smoked salmon z to a soufflé. Noted Mary Archer, a | scientist who sat near Diana durg ing that meal: “The princess | looked wonderful, as if she had not u had an operation.” Added the wife of novelist and former Tory MP Jeffrey Archer: “When Jeffrey had his wisdom teeth out, he looked like a rabbit with mumps for a week.” Now, Buckingham Palace insiders say privately that it was a growing concern among health experts about mercury poisoning that prompted Diana to enter

the hospital last spring—to receive porcelain replacements for dental fillings containing mercury. Indeed, British dentists used mercury compounds to fill 27 million dental cavities last year—statistics that will not win smiles from ordinary Britons.

SOVIET FACTS IN U.S. FILES

With 35 million volumes, Moscow's Lenin State Library has the world's largest collection of books. Still, the institution's antiquated card catalogue system often forces library users to endure lengthy delays before staff members locate a requested book. As a result, library officials recently chose a U.S. company—Virginia Tech Library Systems—to place the institution's catalogue cards on computer. That makes two Virginia-based companies with an interestin Soviet information: the Central Intelligence Agency has its headquarters in Langley.

BIRTHDAY SURPRISE FOR A LIBERAL

Last year, Toronto developer Elvio Del Zotto celebrated his 54th birthday by charging 150 guests $1,500 each to attend a lavish party that doubled as a fund-raising event for the federal Liberals. Del Zotto is the president of the party’s Ontario wing, and the Grits netted about $300,000 from that affair. During the past year, however, Ontario Premier David Peterson’s Liberal administration has confronted a scandal that has entangled Del Zotto. It raised questions

about more than $150,000 that Liberal fund raiser Patricia Starr provided to provincial and federal politicians from a registered charity. Starr—who has links to Del Zotto and Tridel Enterprises Inc., his giant real estate conglomerate—made those campaign contributions from funds that she controlled. In any event, Del Zotto’ 55th birthday celebration last week was a low-key affair as 70 people attended a surprise party in his honor. Starr was not on the guest list.

Counterfeit hard cash

Canada’s $1 coin has a modest value—but that factor has helped some coimterfeiters make money from false loons. RCMP spokesmen say that they have found only small numbers of counterfeit loons to date—including eight ersatz coins that were recently turned in by officials at the Montreal Transit Commission. Ronald Seguss, an Ottawa-based forensic scientist, said that the fakes were lighter than real loons. He added that the coins—which also work in some vending machines—had passed for real because “nobody really took a look at them. ” It pays to be a bird watcher.

THE CASE OF THE MISSING MASCOTS

For the 4,000 performers who took port in the June 3 ceremony, the inauguration of Toronto's $523-million SkyDome was a dampening experience: stadium operators opened the retractable roof despite a downpour. To make up for that soaking, SkyDome officials threw a June 26 party at the stadium—where they planned to give each performer a replica of Domer, the SkyDome's turtle mascot. But, shortly before that event, the officials learned that thousands of the furry toys, which retail for $34.75 each, were missing. As rumors of the theft swept through SkyDome offices, employees searched for the mascots—and eventually found that shippers had mistakenly dumped the Domers in an unmarked storage room. Case closed.

Name-dropping games

A beer ad that parodies the instant replays of televised football games has generated charges of unsportsmanlike conduct against a Toronto ad agency. The commercial, which Scali, McCabe, Sloves Canada Ltd. created for Labatt Brewery’s Blue brand, shows two men threading their way through a barroom crowd toward a woman. Only one manages to meet her, however—and two supposed analysts use onscreen diagrams to illustrate how the winner’s friends block his rival. One commentator sums up that manoeuvre by saying what sounds like “Radke was crushed.” But that reference drew a complaint to the agency from Richard Radke—who worked as a creative director on the Labatt account until he left Scali last year. According to Radke, the agency “used my name without first obtaining my permission.” Scali officials initially maintained that they had used a nearidentical name—Ratke—simply because it sounded like a football player’s name. But when Radke said that he might seek an injunction against the ad, the agency altered the sound track. Now, the revamped spot refers to Martin being crushed. Give Radke a touchdown—on a replay.

A BREAK FROM THE UNUSUAL

He has a reputation as the movie world’s king of unsettling plot lines and gory special effects. But Toronto-based director David Cronenberg says that he sometimes gets the urge “to do something a little less hysterical.”

To that end, Cron-

enberg—best known for such offbeat thrillers as Rabid and Dead Ringers—has signed up

with The Partners’ Film Co. Ltd. of Toronto to direct a series of television commercials. Cronenberg follows in the footsteps of Vancouver-based director Phillip Borsos, whom Partners’ hired last year to make ads for Ontario Hydro. And although Cronenberg’s fee for 10 days of shooting will be $80,000, Partners’ president Donald McLean said i that the director was worth that amount. Said McLean: “One could

argue that most commercials are weird, in which case Cronenberg will be right at home.”