Overture

Anthony Wilson-Smith,Julian Beltrame October 30 2000

Overture

Anthony Wilson-Smith,Julian Beltrame October 30 2000

Overture

Anthony Wilson-Smith

Shanda Deziel

Over and Under Achievers

Ready, set, noool Elsie: tells Libs, ‘don't have a cow! Tobin: doesn’t look as good now! Auditor general: he causes a row! Paul: it’s time for a bow!

Elsie Wayne: Did the Tories’ most feisty MP spurn Libs’ offer of a patronage appointment, or was she spurned herself? Either way, New Brunswick icon will run for re-election. You go, girl! Brian Tobin: Yesterday's theory: he’s PM-in-waiting. Today: isn’t he the guy who promised to stay full term as Newfoundland preem—but didn’t? His return ruffles feathers in caucus. If be can’t deliver Atlantic Canada in election, it’s see ya later, Tobin-atoh! Denis Desautels: Federal auditor general disses Libs for waste and

mismanagement in his annual catalogue of spending horrors. But the only budget they’re likely to cut now will be his. Paul Martin: His budget wins raves—even on Bay Street. Say, maybe this guy should be prime minister some day! U.S. TV viewers: The presidential debates are over! Woo-hoo\ + Canadian viewers: Election debates are about to begin! Boo-hoo!

Overheard

Grandpa Stock: who loves ya?

By now, most TV viewers have surely seen the ubiquitous ad showing Stockwell Day holding up his three-year-old granddaughter while bemoaning Canadas debt. The ad aims to portray Day as just plain folks, while hammering home the point that the Liberals—and Tories before them—have left future generations with a mountain of debt. How well does it work? Canadian Alliance and Liberal officials offer sharply different views. Alliance strategists say the ad scores extremely well with women—who, according to polls, have been slow to succumb to Days charms. “Men liked the ad, women loved it,” says Phil von Finckenstein, Day’s spokesman. Day has taken to mentioning the ad in speeches. He jokes that his granddaughter, Janessa, was bored with the shoot until he noted she owed $20,000: then, she “turned right around and looked at me.” But senior Liberals suggest the Alliance didn’t ask focus groups the right question when they tested reaction. When the Liberals tested the ad, said one, some women said it made them feel “icky” because they thought Day was exploiting his granddaughter for political gain. Who’s telling the truth? Both sides, quite possibly. Focus groups can deliver sharply different verdicts, based on the questions asked. Consider the 1993 Tory ad that mocked Jean Chrétiens contorted facial expressions. In Liberal focus groups, participants indicated it could damage Chrétien. Then, the group was asked their reaction if told that Chrétien is this way because of childhood illness. The group was appalled the Tories would stoop so low. The moral for ad writers: context matters as much as text.

Julian Beltrame

Overture

Over There

‘I might not be here next week’

Kate Carmichael, 50, executive director of the Downtown Halifax Business Commission, was diagnosed with leukemia in late 1999. In August, she was told she was no longer making healthy blood cells. A bone-marrow transplant was not an option for Carmichael, a married mother of five: the poor quality of life that would result was not worth it. With death looming, the municipal firebrand has stepped up her fight to improve Halifax’s historic downtown and become an outspoken advocate of donating blood. She spoke to Halifax Bureau Chief John DeMont:

“I made a decision that the three months given me were three months that I would live to the fullest, then I would quietly disappear into the ether.

It means being normal. It means getting up in the morning, going to the job that is absolutely the most perfect job in the world for me, coming home and making supper, spending time with my husband, my kids, my friends.

“As time is an issue, that sense of urgency I’ve had about downtown is compounded by my own sense of urgency: I might not be here next week. My soapbox has gotten a little bit bigger and taller and I rail a little bit louder with a comfort zone that when you are in my particular situation there are no conse-

quences anymore. I’ve had over 100 transfusions. That means 100 people have come in here to a blood donor clinic and given blood and I’ve gobbled it up. I wanted to say thank you and remind everyone else that I’m only § one face and there are lots of 1 us in the same situation. The I clinic said they were going f to have a memorial clinic s for me. And I said, ‘Jesus, a memorial. Why wait until I’m dead? Please have it while I can be there.’

“I wonder what it’s going to look like when I die. I think about how my kids will survive it and what my husband will be like. I don’t feel sorry for myself. But I think you’re just about to really have fun, and this has happened. So maybe if I run fast enough, keep far enough from that plow that is coming along behind me, maybe I will survive a lot longer than they think. I’m at the end of the three months they gave me. I don’t look like I’m gonna die next week, do I?”

How to Write Horribly

For two years running, the aptly named Canadian horror writer Edo van Belkom has gone up against the genre's main man Stephen King in voting for a Bram Stoker Award, horror writing's top prize. (Neither won either time.) This year, both writers have how-to books out, and both seem likely nominees again. King’s On Writing begins with a typically creepy descrip-

tion of his early life, then segues into a passionate defence of fine writing applicable to any type of story. Van Belkom's Writing Horror skips personal details and adds genre-specific advice: • Aspiring writers should make a list of their 10 greatest fears and come up with a story idea for each. • Collect intriguing headlines-van Belkom's clips include "Homeless tot killed by pet rat” and "Boy kills cat for witch's brew.” • Always remember that horror is the genre of the senses. The good stuff makes readers' skin crawl and even when it’s gross-out bad there is a response-it turns stomachs.

Overbites

“I got off the bed and went up to him. I pressed against him. ‘You haven’t kissed me, René Angélil.’ I took his head in my hands and I kissed him on the lips. I hung from his neck. He held me tight, the door still opened behind him. Then he pulled apart my arms. He fled to his room. ... I knew that I’d won. That flight was an admis-

sion of it.... It was he who called me several minutes later from the lobby of the hotel. To ask if I was all right. And then he told me, ‘If you really want to, I’ll be the first.’ And I answered him, ‘You’ll be the first. And the only.’ ”

-Celine Dion, now 32, describes the manner in which she wooed and won her husband, who is 26 years older, in 1988