MAIL BAG

MAIL BAG

November 26 2007
MAIL BAG

MAIL BAG

November 26 2007

MAIL BAG

‘The letters from members of our military made for an excellent article that everyone should read’

WORSE THAN BUSH

DO YOU HAVE a George W. Bush fetish (“Could the next president be even scarier?” World, Nov. 12)? The cover story should have been dedicated to your Remembrance Day tribute featuring the letters of Canadian soldiers who died in Afghanistan. I don’t give a diddly-squat about how scary the next U.S. president will be because I cannot vote in the good old U.S. of A. We will be stuck with whomever is voted in by the American population.

Christian Dyllan, Orleans, Ont.

WHAT’S SCARY is the real possibility that the majority of Canadians who think nothing could be worse than George W. Bush also find no harm in the rising loonie. Douglas L. Martin, Hamilton

WRITING HOME

Your tribute to our fallen soldiers (“Last letters from Kandahar,” National, Nov. 12) gives a small glimpse of their human decency, character and courage. My heart goes out to their family, friends and comrades.

John Welwood, Kincardine, Ont.

THE LETTERS you published from our now-deceased soldiers are heart-wrenching, but all too reminiscent of similar letters written by the young Canadians who died in Europe in the two world wars. The fundamental differ-

ence is that the grandchildren of these soldiers can now walk the beaches of Normandy and wander through Flanders’ fields with their own children. Two generations from now, the offspring of our recently fallen soldiers will only have a desolate, lawless frontier to remind them of the sacrifice that was made. I fear that no amount of money, blood or good intentions will change that final outcome.

Dr. Ian Dobson,

Thunder Bay, Ont.

THE COMPILATION of letters and the profiles made for an excellent article that everyone should read. It reminds us that the members of our military are individuals carrying out a tough task and their letters home provide a reminder of how they coped with these tasks. There is one error that I would like to point out in Capt. Nichola Goddard’s profile. Nichola was not an infantry officer, nor did she command a platoon. She was a proud member of the artillery and was, at the time of her death, a Forward Observation Officer supporting the infantry by controlling artillery fire.

Retired Lt.-Col. Neil Johnstone, Gloucester, Ont.

LOMBARDO’S LEGACY

THE EDITORIAL about the closing of a museum dedicated to Guy Lombardo in his hometown of London, Ont., really struck a chord with me (“A Canadian musical icon deserves better,” From the Editors, Nov. 12). The blame rests solidly on the doorstep of the London city council. Not only has the council neglected the Lombardo legacy, but, inexplicably, distanced itself from it. There are plenty of signs coming into London for a myriad of attractions from water parks to archaeological

‘My suggestion (and it’s got to be the best), proclaim Dec. 31 Guy Lombardo Day in Canada’

digs. At the very least, every “Welcome to the City of London” sign should have “The Home of Guy Lombardo” added.

Bob Badgley, London, Ont.

CONCERNING your request for suggestions about how to memorialize Guy Lombardo, if London were to put together a full and imaginative Canadian Jazz Hall of Fame, the whole world of jazz nuts would be thinking “gotta get there, gotta see and hear that stuff.” Lombardo certainly deserves a place among the great leaders of big bands. There could be two quite distinct areas to the museum, one for our own musicians and the other for those foreigners who have major connections with us. Duke Ellington, for example, was commissioned by the Stratford Festival in 1957 to write an extended work—Such Sweet Thunder—for the summer musical offerings. People could push a button and hear the music. There could be ongoing publicity as new inductees were identified.

Gordon Greene, Waterloo, Ont.

THERE’S absolutely nothing that brings on a lovely attack of nostalgia like those soft sax tones at the beginning of Auld Lang Syne. My suggestion to memorialize Lombardo (and it’s gotta be the best!) is for Canada to proclaim Dec. 31 Guy Lombardo Day. Mary Foster, Abbotsford, B.C.

I WAS BORN in London, Ont. The Lombardos used to pass by

our house on their way to one

of London’s Catholic schools.

My maternal grandmother, an aggressive but brilliant Method-

ist, enlisted the Lombardo boys to play in her Sunday school orchestra shortly after the First World War. No doubt my grandmother thought the music would give her forgiveness or perhaps

they might be converted. Guy Lombardo, his music and its style were almost the sole creators of Canadian dance and song life from 1920 to the Second World War. This is true Canadian music history.

Dr. J.S.W. Aldis, Port Hope, Ont.

HERE IS MY suggestion to honour Guy Lombardo: never mind the Sony Centre, rename Toronto’s Hummingbird Centre “Guy Lombardo Royal Canadian Place.” Hummingbird conjures up a bird sanctuary.

G. James Thomson, Guelph, Ont.

I HAVE a simple, one-word explanation for why tabloids tend to focus almost exclusively on the bad behaviour of female celebrities: schadenfreude, the perverse and often unbridled pleasure one takes in another’s misery (“The tabs: no men allowed,” Media, Nov. 12). Since women are usually the ones who buy the tabloids, it makes sense that they’d be more interested in reading about rich, glamorous young women who canoodle with lots of handsome guys and wear pricey getups, but can’t get their act together. There is the further

satisfaction of seeing that all that wealth and fame may not make for a very happy life.

Mindy G. Alter, Toronto

SOLD SHORT?

IT WAS QUITE a shocker to read your congratulations to Canadian Tire and Wal-Mart for slashing prices in reaction to the soaring loonie (“Rolling back prices,” Good News, Nov. 5). As a small retailer, is it quite hard to pass on these temporary “savings” as we book our products way in advance at Canadian prices and are at the mercy of manufactur-

ers and distributors. If you are a corporate giant with your own distribution chain and buy your containers direct from China, in U.S. dollars, you have a lot more leeway.

Andrea Rankin, Canmore, Alta.

I WONDER why both the Canadian media and our government find it so important to lambaste Canadian retailers. Do they really believe that the retail industry is out to cash in on the Canadian public because of the depressed American currency? Is there any real understanding of why there is a disparity in the

price of goods? I don’t see much conversation about the reduction of duties that affect the pricing of goods in Canada. We are taxed with more duties than almost any industrialized country in the world. Plus, is it not possible that more than 300 million people have more buying power than 33 million? Yes, the prices will get closer, but the drop in the U.S. dollar happened so rapidly that it takes time for the pricing to catch up. Sending our money down south or lining Wal-Mart’s pockets will do little for the long-term health of neighbourhood retailers. Wake up Maclean’s, and could someone please fire our finance minister?

Ross McNamara, President, Gerick Cycle and Ski, Nelson, B.C.

HOORAY for Wal-Mart! Recognizing the mighty loonie and acting in a timely manner may have Canadian customers holding vigil at other stores for fair prices. Our increased buying power is easily seen on eBay’s Canadian domain, where you already see Americans paying four to six per cent more than Canadian shoppers.

Tyler Melnyk, Calgary

PROMISING VISTAS

HAVING recently returned from a contract position in Bermuda, L can tell you that Brazil is not the only country that doesn’t allow billboards (“Clearing the air of‘visual pollution,’ ” World, Nov. 12). Bermuda also prohibits fast-food franchises and there are increasingly stricter rules on foreign ownership of property. All of this helps keep Bermuda safe from both visual pollution and the bland sameness of McDonald’s and Taco Bell. I ate some of the best food I’ve had while there, and while it was expensive, it was more than worth it.

Pat Brown, London, Ont.

WIDENING THE NET

MITCHEL Raphael’s column mentioned a price difference between groups aiming to end malaria in Africa through the use of insecticide-treated bed nets (“Stronach’s net worth more?” Capital Diary, Nov. 5). Just to clarify, a $10 donation to Spread the Net ensures that UNICEF can purchase a long-lasting insecticide-treated net and ensure its transportation (including to remote areas in Liberia and Rwanda), distribution to families, training of local health workers and monitoring of distributed bed nets’ use. While our organizations may differ in some aspects, what remains important is our shared goal: to eradicate malaria.

Belinda Stronach, Co-chair, Spread the Net, Aurora, Ont.

A NEW MAY DAY

THERE MAY be some dissension within the Green party about Elizabeth May’s tactics, but in the arena of federal politics she is like a

refreshing breeze of clean salt air off the Atlantic (“Could the queen of green be mean?” National, Oct. 29). She is smart, natural, funny and a proven environmentalist. Indeed, despite the tacky rush of Canadian politicians to emulate Al Gore, May is the only true environmentalist who has served in the trenches and made really significant changes. She doesn’t have to emulate anyone. She stands on her own two feet. Bruce Litteljohn, Bracehridge, Ont.

GAY ON THE PAGE

Why is the sexual orientation of a children’s book character news (“Pride ofHogwarts,” Good News, Nov. 5)? More importantly, why was it bigger news that week than a story about the U.S. being poised to launch war on Iran and Syria? I hope Maclean’s will be as interested in that war as it was in the lifestyle of a character who doesn’t exist.

Julie Vincent, Calgary

IN PASSING

Norman Mailer, 84, writer. From his 1948 first novel, TheNaked and the Dead, through works of literary journalism such as the Pulitzer Prize-winning Armies of the Night and The Executioner’s Song, he became a larger-than-life figure in American arts. Famous as a left-leaning thinker, he nevertheless penned Harlot’s Ghost, which was surprisingly sympathetic toward the CIA.

Fabulous Moolah, 84, wrestler. A leading figure on the women’s pro wrestling circuit for 50 years, she held onto the women’s championship for most of the period from the 1950s to the 1980s and was even victorious in the ring at age 76. She was profiled in the 2004 documentary Lipstick and Dynamite.