OPENING NOTES

Arthur Rimbaud gets into advertising, Lech Walesa juggles invitations, and the Hells Angels go to court

November 27 1989

OPENING NOTES

Arthur Rimbaud gets into advertising, Lech Walesa juggles invitations, and the Hells Angels go to court

November 27 1989

OPENING NOTES

Arthur Rimbaud gets into advertising, Lech Walesa juggles invitations, and the Hells Angels go to court

THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINE

During a 10-day visit to North America in search of economic aid for his impoverished country, Polish Solidarity leader Lech Walesa displayed a deft ability to juggle conflicting invitations from veteran supporters in the labor movement and U.S. President George Bush. As he prepared to leave Ottawa on Nov. 13, Walesa first declined Bush's offer to whisk him to Washington, D.C., aboard a government jet. The reason: the United Food and Commercial Workers had already arranged a plane for Walesa. Lorrie McHugh, a Washingtonbased spokesman for the American Federation of Labor and Congress of

Industrial Organizations, noted that organized labor in Canada and the United States had in fact sponsored Walesa's visit to North America. According to McHugh, the Polish leader decided to ride with AFL-CIO supporters who had supplied Solidarity with money and communications equipment during the dark, seven-year period when Solidarity was an outlawed organization. And Bush was rebuffed a second time when he invited Walesa to dine at the White House on Nov. 13—an evening on which Walesa had agreed to attend a dinner with AFL-CIO president Lane Kirkland and other union leaders. Still, the former electrician and winner of the 1983 “ Nobel Peace Prize managed to dine with both labor leaders and Bush as £ White House aides rescheduled dinner ^ with the President for Nov. 14. DiploWalesa: conflicting invitations mats do not always wear striped pants.

Bringing the scrolls into the light

A shepherd’s discovery of ancient manuscripts in a cave near Jerusalem in 1947 uncovered a priceless source of information for biblical scholars. Still, more than 40 years after the discovery of the first Dead Sea Scrolls, only about half the 800 Hebrew and Aramaic documents have been translated. Now, however, biblical scholars have been given better access to documents covering a period from 150 BC to 40 AD. As a result, Eileen Schuller, a professor at the Atlantic School of Theology in Halifax, recently received several documents—the first Dead Sea Scrolls to come to Canada.

Indeed, Schuller said that, in January, she hopes to publish a psalm from manuscripts that could provide fresh insights into the development of Judaism and the origin of Christianity. Declared Schuller: “They seem to be a collection much in the same theme,

language and thought as the biblical psalms. They are attributed to various biblical figures. They reflect a very rich and deep piety.” Schuller added that she and her colleagues were working hard to speed up the publication of the scrolls. Amen.

CLASSIFIED INFORMATION

The Central Intelligence Agency made a concession to the two-career family last week: it opened a $ 1.4-million day care centre for 104 children of its employees at its McLean, Va., headquarters. But for security reasons, the centre's 28 childcare workers do not use the children's last names. And children with identical first names are identified by their Christian name and middle initial. Said centre manager Clare Taylor: “The list of children enrolled here is classified.” For the children of CIA employees, even the playground has its secrets.

MAKING TRACKS BELOW THE BORDER

When he announced last month that Via Rail would slash passenger-train service by more than half in 1990, federal Transport Minister Benoît Bouchard came under fire from critics across the country. But for Washington, D.C.-based Amtrak— the largest passenger-train service in the United States—those scheduled cuts were as welcome as an on-time arrival. Last May, Amtrak launched a unique service busing passengers from Winnipeg 240 km south to

Grand Forks, N.D. There, they can board an Amtrak train to Seattle and another shuttle bus service to Vancouver. Amtrak spokesman Sue Martin told Maclean’s that the service was designed to offer Canadian train buffs an alternate route west. But she conceded that, shortly after Bouchard announced the Via cuts—which will reduce service between Winnipeg and Vancouver— Amtrak intensified an ad campaign promoting the special service. All aboard.

A prize for nodding off

While Ronald Reagan sometimes dozed off at meetings, George Bush has turned the tables on aides who work long hours—and sometimes fall asleep on the job. To that end, White House photographers take candid shots of the snoozing staffers—and the President then presents them with the evidence at a lighthearted ceremony. Said Press Secretary Marlin Fitzwater, who was recently photographed while sleeping aboard Air Force One: “The award is given to whoever can go to sleep in the most embarrassing situation without any remorse whatsoever. ”

ADVERTISEMENTS FOR A DEAD POET

Employees at a Montreal advertising agency say that they easily agreed on an illustration for a current government campaign to encourage social acceptance of the mentally handicapped. Accordingly, they used a portrait of a sorrowful youth with a compelling stare to adorn one million pamphlets for their client, Quebec's ministry of health and social services. But several people have informed Jacques Duval, the president of Marketel/Foster/McCannErickson's Montreal office, that the agency had selected an uncaptioned picture of Arthur Rimbaud, the talented 19th-century French poet. Still, the Quebec government has decided to continue distributing the brochures. Poetic justice.

Coffee, tea or fresh air?

For many passengers, air travel is sometimes marked by such physical discomforts as a scratchy throat, sore eyes, headaches, dizziness and fatigue. In the past, many travellers blamed smokers for causing those problems by fouling the air in cramped passenger compartments. But, although airlines have now banned smoking on many flights, complaints continue. Indeed, several experts who addressed the annual meeting of the International Congress of Flight Attendants in Brussels last month said that, on many flights, pilots—not smokers— may be largely responsible for the air quality aboard commercial jetliners. According to independent U.S. toxicologist Larry Holcomb, pilots sometimes decide to try to lower fuel costs by reducing the fresh-air supply that plane engines suck into the passenger compartment. Thomas Cole, a spokesman for the Seattle-based aircraft manufacturer Boeing Corp., confirmed that the practice is not uncommon. Still, Cole stressed that it did not threaten passengers’ health. And there is a remedy. As toxicologist Holcomb noted in Brussels, “Because of the smaller number of passengers, the freshest part of the cabin is always first class.” At 35,000 feet, fresh air has its price.

ANGELS WITH A COPYRIGHT

For the more than 100 chapters of the Hells

Angels motorcycle club throughout the world, it will be a chance to settle a score. This week, the club’s lawyers are scheduled to launch a trademark-infringement suit in a Los Angeles court-

room against locally based film company Concord New Horizons Corp. Club spokesman George

Christie told Maclean ’s that Angels officials decided to launch the suit after seeing Concord’s recently released film, Nam Angels. According to Christie, the film presents an unflattering portrayal of a motorcycle gang

whose members’ jackets are emblazoned with patches resembling the Angels’ copyrighted ^red-and-black winged skull. Dedared New York City chapter president Robert Maganza: “It boils my

blood to see a citizen actor wearing our patch.” Reputations are fragile things.