OPENING NOTES

Charlie Sheen strikes back, Carolyn Waldo speaks out, and Peter Kormos gets a quiet promotion

April 29 1991

OPENING NOTES

Charlie Sheen strikes back, Carolyn Waldo speaks out, and Peter Kormos gets a quiet promotion

April 29 1991

OPENING NOTES

Charlie Sheen strikes back, Carolyn Waldo speaks out, and Peter Kormos gets a quiet promotion

BATTLE OF THE BOOKSHELVES

As Saskatchewan Premier Grant Devine's current term approaches the five-year mark, voters in his economically troubled province are preparing for an election. And to help them decide, Saskatchewanians can turn to the recent publication of two books that examine the Tory premier's record. Those who blame Devine for the decline in the province's farm economy may have their worst suspicions confirmed by Devine Rule in Saskatchewan: A Decade of Hope and Hardship, edited by university professor Lesley Biggs and New Democrat Mark Stobbe. But Devine supporters may gain hope for a Tory victory by

reading Battleground: The Socialist Assault on Grant Devine's Canadian Dream, by Calgary Sun editor Paul Jackson and former Devine speechwriter Donald Baron. Published in response to Devine Rule, Battleground portrays Devine as the man who saved the province from socialism. The dust jacket notes announce: "This book is the story of the Canadian political struggle, perhaps the world struggle, between left and right. That battle virtually ended in Eastern Europe in 1989, but it is alive in the Canada of the 1990s." Still, the book may be too little and too late to save Devine's unpopular Tories. Although no polls have been conducted for two years in Saskatchewan, Mary Sutherland, owner of Sutherland Books in Regina, has been keeping track of her sales of the books. The score: Devine Rule, 60; Battleground, 4.

The actor and the movie critic

Most actors suffer the slings and arrows of critics with stoic resignation. Not Charlie Sheen, the star of such acclaimed films as Platoon and Wall Street.

Earlier this month, film critic Ralph Novak of People magazine panned Sheen’s latest movie, Cadence, which also stars his brother Ramon Estevez and which their father, Martin Sheen, directed.

Wrote an unimpressed Novak:

“That this resembles a Sheen family home movie is the least of its shortcomings.” In response, Charlie Sheen fired off an angry letter to the editor. Addressing Novak directly, he wrote: “You’re a talentless punk who needs some of the bile you hack poured back down your rotted hole. Have a nice life, little man.” The letter also alleged that Novak got his job by performing “a sexual act” on a People editor. Declared Novak: “That is going a little overboard.” In

fact, Novak said that he initially suspected that someone else had written it. But the magazine checked and Sheen took full responsibility for his comments. Said Novak: “He basically dared us to print it. So we did. I think it hoists him by his own... notepaper.”

PETS FOR THE FAINTHEARTED

Once there were pet rocks. Now there are fainting goats. Members of the unusual breed, so named because they faint when startled, are gaining popularity as pets in the United States. Indeed, in 1989 breeders there formed a Fainting Goat Association. At one time, farmers put the goats out with their sheep. If a wolf came along, the goats fainted but the sheep ran away. Said David Peters, an Iowa breeder: “If they are surprised by something, they fall down and freeze for 15 seconds. It's the weirdest thing." The original scapegoat.

A CONSTITUTIONAL LETDOWN

Michael Hahn, the Ottawa businessman who came up with the unusual idea of holding a national contest asking Canadians to rewrite the Constitution and compete for about $3 million in prizes, took the chance to air his views last week before a Senate-Commons committee. But his appearance dismayed some senators and MPs when, instead of offering ideas on how to amend the Constitution, Hahn attacked elected officials who he said waste taxpayers’ dollars. And he heaped abuse on - Canadians in general

for their failure to build a nation. Said New Democrat MP

Lynn Hunter after—-

wards: “His contest idea is certainly innovative, but he’s coming from somewhere way out in right field.” And Hahn’s presentation caused problems within his own circle. One supporter of his contest proposal, Tadeusz Grygier, an Ottawa social scientist, later set himself apart from Hahn. He told the committee that he would submit his own statement on Canada’s constitutional problems. Grygier told Maclean’s: “I don’t agree with the style of [Hahn’s] presentation. It antagonized the committee.”

A shift in good fortune

Ontario Premier Bob Rae, who fired his consumer affairs minister Peter Kormos last month after he posed as a Sunshine Boy in The Toronto Sun, has now quietly appointed him to a new position. Last week, Kormos became chairman of an NDP-dominated legislative committee on resource development. Said the flamboyant former minister: ‘7 don ’I know why I was appointed but I know it was cleared by the premier’s office.” As it happens, the new job boosts his regular MPP’s salary by $9,000 to $52,000—before expenses. Said Kormos: “The money’s not important. ” But it helps.

Going

solo

The International Olympic Committee is considering a recommendation that the solo and duet synchronized swimming competitions be dropped from the Olympic Games. And although swimmer Carolyn Waldo won two gold medals in those events at the 1988 Olympics

in Seoul, she says that she applauds half of the committee’s idea. Waldo, a member of the 1986 Maclean’s Honor Roll, acknowledges what many Canadians who watched her perform in the events three years ago noticed—that solo synchronized swimming is not an exciting spectator sport. It is also a contradiction in terms. Said Waldo: “What you look for in synchronized swimming is synchronization, and when there’s only one swimmer, there isn’t much.” Still, Waldo added that she will be sorry to see the duet event dropped. “I think the duet is exciting and I’d really prefer to see it stay,” she added. The committee has recommended that the two events be replaced by team synchronized swimming. Declared the 26-year-old Waldo, who now works as a sportscaster at CJOH TV in Ottawa: “It is a good move because there’s more for the spectator to watch and there’s more for the team to do. I think it’s a great idea. There are pros and cons, but the bottom line is that more girls will be able to participate.” The sport of champions.

TAXATION WITHOUT AUTHORIZATION

Although they placed only fourth at last fall's Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston, nine crew members from Hamilton, Ont.'s Leander Boat Club were ecstatic. But their good cheer dimmed when the nine bronze medals finally arrived in the mail last month. Revenue Canada had slapped $8.73 in GST on the shipment. Said Claude Saunders, vice-president of the club: "I have to say that we were amazed. Medals are of no real value except to the winner." Hamilton Liberal MP Stanley Keyes also expressed surprise. He brought the matter up before the House of Commons recently. As a result, Revenue Canada apologized and conceded that it had made an error: the GST does not apply to medals and prizes.

TRADING AT FULL VALUE

Last month, Pro Set Inc., a Dallas-based company, issued sets of 250 Desert Storm collectible cards—including one featuring Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.

All proceeds in North America go to charity. But it appears that many collectors do not put much of a premium on the Mulroney card. At one Calgary

shop, the Book Addic, cards feaafter the storm.

turing Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf and Iraqi President Saddam Hussein command up to $5 each, while the Mulroney one sells for a mere 75 cents. Said clerk Jason Mathis: “People just laugh when I tell them that he's in there.” But according to Scott Tambert, Pro Set’s associate marketing manager, the - Prime Minister’s in| elusion was never in ~ doubt. Said TamE bert: “Canada was part of the coalition against Iraq, so he’s in there. We didn’t think about the low value of his card over the others.” The calm