Opening NOTES

Opening NOTES

TANYA DAVIES July 27 1998
Opening NOTES

Opening NOTES

TANYA DAVIES July 27 1998

Opening NOTES

TANYA DAVIES

Gift boxes for getting even

Angry at an ex-spouse? Have an axe to grind? Don’t get mad, get even—by calling Get a Life Flowers Inc. The Toronto-based company offers unique gifts— a dozen dead roses or a box of doggy doo—that deliver a decidedly unsubtle message. And as if to prove that hell hath no fury like a spouse scorned, the company’s phone has barely stopped ringing since Divorce magazine profiled owners Orlene Brown, 54, and Cheryl Mabley, 50.

The former sisters-in-law (they divorced their husbands, who were brothers) set up shop last December.

As part of their research, they contacted the Ontario ministry of health and post office bureaucrats to ask about regulations for handling animal droppings as gifts. “They all laughed at us,” says Brown, who adds that nobody could give them any guidelines as it hadn’t been done before. Rather than risk using the real thing, the pair created lifelike substitutes: “We call it our secret recipe. It has all the same qualities except for the smell.”

Last week, a man sent the gift to his exwife, who had recently assaulted his new wife. “We say that we have to run fast [from the recipient],” jokes Brown. “But, most people laugh and then vow to get even.”

A cyber legend

The Lamarr story became of how the actress pioneer of Hedy wireless communications—opening the door to the Internet—sounds like a movie. And Wi-LAN, a Calgary-based communications company, recognized a marketing opportunity. Married to an arms manufacturer in 1933, Lamarr was exposed to military technology. After the marriage ended, she moved to Hollywood and became a star. Later, at age 26, she invented an anti-jamming radio device specific to submarines, which was patented in 1942. After the war, Lamarr focused on her film career, and let the patent expire in 1958.

Enter Hatim Zaghloul, the CEO of Wi-LAN, who was shocked to discover that his screen idol had invented spread spectrum technology. He approached the Miami-based Lamarr— now 84 and with few savings—hoping to work out a deal. Lamarr agreed to allow Wi-LAN the use of her name and image for marketing the company’s wireless data products. In return, she acquired a one-per-cent stake in the $50-million company. Two thumbs up.

CAPITAL CONFIDENTIAL

Last week, Hugh Segal became the first in the field to officially file as a candidate for the Oct. 24 Progressive Conservative party leadership vote. This week, Joe Clark, exManitoba cabinet minister Brian Pallister, and maybe others will follow. But the buzz in party circles centred on the party’s failure to set down the rules for the race. Workers for several candidates were grumbling that party brass has yet to tell them where party members will vote, how the results will be tabulated and where they will be announced. Party president Ross Reid says the details are being ironed out by the leadership selection committee. “It’s like staging a tennis tournament and telling everyone: We will tell you the rules after the quarterfinals,’ ” says a veteran back-roomer.

What is known is that there will be no traditional convention. Instead, the 301 federal ridings will each cast 100 votes—meaning candidates will find their efforts best spent by concentrating on small ridings or those with relatively few Tory adherents. The 100 votes will be allotted by the candidate’s support in the riding. (For example, if a candidate sold 800 party memberships in a riding with 1,000 members—or 40 in a riding with just 50—he could expect 80 of the 100 votes.) If no candidate receives more than 50 per cent of the total national vote on Oct. 24, a runoff will be held on Nov. 14— this time using a preferential ballot. If no candidate secures a clear majority, the lowest contender will be dropped and his votes distributed according his supporters’ second preference. This process will continue until someone emerges with a majority. That, at least, is the theory. “The process is quite clear,” Reid insists. But for many Tories, it is clear as mud.

EMPORIUM

A woman’s risk of dying during pregnancy and childbirth in various regions: Northern Europe: 1 in 4,000; North America: 1 in 3,700; Latin America/Caribbean: 1 in 130; Asia: 1 in 65; Africa: 1 in 16 Source: Inter-Agency Group for Safe Motherhood

Percentage of out-of-wedlock births, according to Statistics Canada: Quebec: 53 Rest of Canada: 24

By Kowalchyk the time she had recorded already spent her last half album her life at age in the 31, music Luba business. “My parents told me that I was born singing,” says Luba, now 40 and living in the Laurentians north of Montreal. As a teenager, she sang folk songs in UkrainianCanadian communities. In 1984, five years after forming the rock group that bears her first name, Luba released the band’s debut album, Secrets and Sins, which sold 50,000 copies and earned Luba her first gold single with Let it Go. (The song was also on the sound track for the film 9 V2 Weeks.) The album’s success helped nab Luba the 1985 Juno Award for best female vocalist—an honor she won three years in a row.

She hasn’t made a new recording since the 1989 release of All or Nothing. “By the time we were finished with the last record, I felt a little spent, never really having a life of my own,” says Luba. “As much as I loved music, it became everything.” Life also took a decidedly difficult turn. Her marriage to Peter Marunzak, a drummer in the band, fell apart. Within a year, the band broke up and her grandmother died. Then, in 1994, Luba’s mother died of cancer. “It was good that I wasn’t on the road, and there to spend the time with her,” says Luba, who channelled some of her grief into writing songs.

Songs that may be on the CD she hopes to put out next year. “I’ve been waiting for the right situation,” explains Luba, who lives in a chalet-style home with her two dogs, Rusty and Mishi. She wants an album with a distinctive sound: “It’s rare these days to hear something that really jumps out at you. I’d like to stand out from the crowd and do something that’s me.”

GOLDFARB POLL

Roughly one-half of Canadians reject the notion of a government ban on the sponsorship of sporting events by tobacco companies, brewers and distillers. An additional one-third are indifferent to the idea. Percentage of 1,400 adults polled:

Welcome Reject Indifferent Banning sponsorship by distilleries 15 52 32 and breweries: By tobacco companies: 23 45 31 DATA COLLECTED FEBRUARY, 1998 o( l imited