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Shanda Deziel August 14 2000
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Shanda Deziel August 14 2000

Summer daze

Madonna's moxie, the cruel sea and a spritzer-head packing heat

MP Art Hanger: The Canadian Alliance defense critic explains Canada's navy is “a rough environment made up of rugged people” and may be unsuitable for women. Or is he talking about his party?

Madonna: Goodbye yoga and enlightenment. Hello strippers, pimps, fur and cleavage—in the new video for her CD, Music. Nice to see her acting normal again.

Charlton Heston: Delegates at the Republican convention learn the NRA president is being treated for an addiction to white wine. White wine? Say it ain’t so, Chuck.

Pete Sampras: Forget Anna Kournikova. Toronto’s Master Series shows Pete is the hottest thing in tennis, even with his shirt on.

Paul Allen: Microsoft’s co-founder wastes $11.5 million on a telescope to search for extraterrestrials when Bill Gates is right under his nose.

Air rage: Ottawa hires former NHL referee Bruce Hood as Air Canada Complaints Commissioner. So now we get penalized for boarding?


Historical hoopla

Newfoundlanders, to state the obvious, know how to throw a party. Three years ago, they held a province-wide bash to mark the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Italian explorer John Cabot. In 1999, it was time to celebrate 50 years as part of Canada. This year, the big day was July 28, when an armada of replica Norse ships arrived in far-off L’Anse aux Meadows, a millennium after the Vikings are believed to have landed in that very spot. Television coverage from networks around the world made the L'Anse aux Meadows ceremony a public relations coup for the province. So it is no surprise that Brian Tobin’s Liberal government is already planning its next soirée—even if the premier himself concedes this one might be a bit of a stretch.

Tobin jokes that the event—the 100th anniversary of history’s first long-distance wireless radio transmission—is “the best I can come up with” for the year 2001. The historic message originated in Cornwall, England, on Dec. 12, 1901, and was received in a shack atop Signal Hill in St. John’s by Guglielmo Marconi, an Italian inventor who was betting that radio would make him rich and famous. (His work in telegraphy would earn him the Nobel Prize in physics in 1909.)

Planning for the celebration is barely under way. Newfoundland tourism officials say one possible event is an international festival of kites—a reminder that Marconi mounted his antennas on a series of weather balloons and giant kites to receive the historic broadcast. But it is still early. And on the Rock, any excuse for a party will do.—John DeMont


The best-seller list of books that never get sold

Sometimes the most popular books aren't at the top of the best-seller lists. With 1.4 million people checking out books every year, the Toronto Public Library has a good idea of what Canadians are reading. Surprisingly, the latest Harry Potter is only No. 4 on their list of the most requested books. The lending lowdown:


Title: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Author: J. K. Rowling

No. of copies: 286

No.of holds: 1,505

Hold/copy ratio: 5.3


Title: No Great Mischief

Author: Alistair MacLeod

No. of copies: 156

No.of holds: 729

Hold/copy ratio: 4.7


Title: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Author: J. K. Rowling

No. of copies: 156

No.of holds: 1,201

Hold/copy ratio: 4.5

Title: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Author: J. K. Rowling

No. of copies: 525

No.of holds: 2,099

Hold/copy ratio: 4


Title: A Good House

Author: Bonnie Burnard

No. of copies: 216

No.of holds: 598

Hold/copy ratio: 2.8

Title: The Brethren

Author: John Grisham

No. of copies: 424

No.of holds: 1,108

Hold/copy ratio: 2.6


Title: In a Sunburned Country

Author: Bill Bryson

No. of copies: 144

No.of holds: 265

Hold/copy ratio: 1.8


Title: ’Tis

Author: Frank McCourt

No. of copies: 352

No.of holds: 418

Hold/copy ratio: 1.2


Title: Anil’s Ghost

Author: Michael Ondaatje

No. of copies: 430

No.of holds: 425

Hold/copy ratio: 1


Title: The House on Hope Street

Author: Danielle Steel

No. of copies: 423

No.of holds: 376

Hold/copy ratio: 0.9



Beware of Greeks baring glyphs

Since their discovery in 1954, the origin of 900 rock carvings in Petroglyph Provincial Park, 55 km northeast of Peterborough, Ont., has been hotly contested. The carvings were first believed to be the work of aboriginal shamans, but that was challenged in the 1980s when Harvard professor Barry Fell released a study of the carvings pegging them to Scandinavian visitors circa 1700 BC. Many disputed this conclusion, including retired University of Calgary archeology professor David Kelley, who dated the carvings to European travelers in 800 BC. But most experts don’t believe Bronze Age Europeans could have traveled so far.

Now, amateur historian Michael Busch of Sudbury, Ont., is connecting the carvings to ancient Greek mythology. After 13 years of study, Busch, 49, says the carvings link to ancient “sea people” and Egyptians who traveled to North America thousands of years ago—and that an account of the voyage is found in Greek myths. Among his claims is that the Greek Temple Grove—known in Egyptian writings as the Steps of Myrrh—is located in what is today Trout Lake, near North Bay, Ont. The petroglyphs, Busch says, are star maps created by explorers, and the deep stone carvings are molds for making copper icons of deities. Busch believes his theory will triumph once he has tested copper used in tools found in the Great Lakes Basin against the metal of Egyptian relics. “If the theory is true, it will be proven with the test,” he says. “If not, I’ll eat the copper myself.”—Derek Chezzi


Overbites

“In less than two years, Conrad Black has made a miracle. I can think of no greater miracle in the 20th century than the National Post.”

-CanWest Global Communications chief Izzy Asper, so enamored with his new acquisition that he appears to have forgotten about the invention of penicillin, powered flight, nuclear energy, space travel, computers-and television

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“He’s the Canadian league import with the Mexican-sounding name. A NAFTA quarterback. And trust me, they’ll feel free to trade him if it doesn’t pan out this year.”

-Dennis Miller, rookie color commentator for ABC’s Monday Night Football, on San Francisco 49er — Jeff Garcia

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“Did you ever make it with my father?”

-John F. Kennedy to actress Marlene Deitrich after he seduced her in his White House bedroom, from the newly published diaries of British theater critic Kenneth Tynan


Smoking strokes

Golf fans had better take a good look at Canadians Dawn Coe-Jones, Anna-Jane Eathorne, Gail Graham and Lorie Kane this week. They may all be playing the du Maurier Classic for the last time. The sponsor is withdrawing because of legislation that restricts cigarette advertising, and there is concern among players and organizers that one of the LPGA Tour’s four major championships could disappear altogether. Its loss would eliminate the only LPGA event in Canada, not to mention the du Maurier Series satellite tour for aspiring pros. “For Canadian golf,” said tournament director Jocelyne Bourassa, “the Classic is too important to lose.”

As a major, the event—at the Royal Ottawa Golf Club in Aylmer, Que.—has a stellar field that includes Australia’s Karrie Webb and Sweden’s Annika Sorenstam, who, going into last weekend’s play, had each won five times this season. To maintain that major status, Classic organizers need at least $1.5 million (U.S.) for the 2001 purse, and nearly that much for operating costs. Former du Maurier Ltd. executive Jean-Paul Blais, who has spent six months searching for support, told Maclean's last week he had secured commitments to cover the purse, but had yet to lure a tide sponsor. “I really need to find something in the next 30 to 45 days,” Blais said. And that leaves the Classic deep in the rough.