OPENING NOTES

OPENING NOTES

December 26 1994
OPENING NOTES

OPENING NOTES

December 26 1994

OPENING NOTES

ACTIVE MEMORIES

The murder trial of Roger Warren, 51, has revived memories of the horrible explosion that killed Shane (Spanky) Riggs, 27, and eight other miners in September, 1992, when a home-made bomb exploded at Royal Oak Mines Inc.’s Giant gold mine in Yellowknife. But Carol Riggs has devised a unique memorial to her murdered son and his colleagues: a line of athletic clothing called Spanky Wear. A tag on each garment— from sweatshirts to spandex bras and even diapers—tells how Riggs, an avid weight lifter, and his friends died in the explosion after crossing the picket line during a bitter 18-month labor dispute at the Giant mine, 1,800 km north of Edmonton.

The idea for the sportswear collection came from one of Riggs’s workout partners at a Yellowknife gym. With the blessings of the other victims’ families, Carol Riggs and son Laurence opened their first store in May in the converted basement of her home in Lake Cowichan, B.C. Spanky Wear is now available in the Northwest Territories and Ontario, and the Riggses

also are considering creating a mail-order catalogue. Some of the proceeds go towards a memorial scholarship at the high school from which Shane graduated. Riggs, who spent the first year after her son’s death “paralyzed by grief,” says she now feels good each time she sells a garment bearing the Spanky logo—a muscular man with a towel over his forearm. “This is my life,” she says. “I want everyone to learn about Spanky Wear and why it was created.”

SINGING SUMMIT

The gala was billed as “a summit of the talents of the hemisphere.” And the roster of artists and entertainers was indeed impressive, as they performed for 34 elected heads of state and their entourages at a black-tie evening capping the trade talks at the recent Summit of the Americas in Miami. Among the stars from Antigua to Venezuela who took to the stage were the Ballet Gran Polklorico de Mexico, Brazilian actress Sonya Braga and Cuban jazz trumpeter Arturo Sandoval. The United States had a particularly impressive lineup: writer Maya Angelou read some of her poetry, actors Morgan Lreeman and Michael Douglas made rousing speeches, and singer Liza Minnelli belted out a tune.

Then, there was Canada’s national cultural contribution: Ottawa-born singer and composer Paul Anka.

Anka, who has lived in the United States since 1961, is best-known perhaps for writing such Americana as the theme for NBC’s Tonight Show when Johnny Carson was host, and Prank Sinatra’s signature song My Way. Toronto artist Charles Pachter, who attended the function, said the whole event was very distressing for an ardent Canadian nationalist such as himself. “It’s like Canada is invisible,” he added. Still, Pachter said, Anka did manage to strike a suitably Canadian note—self-deprecation. Just before he sang his 1970s mega-hit You’re Havin’ My Baby, he told the audience, “I just want you to know I am sick of this song.”

BEST-SELLERS

FICTION

1. Politically Correct Bedtime Stories,

James Finn Gamer (1)

2. The Celestine Prophecy,

James Redfield (4)

3. A Discovery of Strangers, Rudy Wiebe (3)

4. Open Secrets, Alice Munro (2)

5. Original Sin, P. D. James (5)

6. The Cunning Man, Robertson Davies (6)

7. A Son of the Circus, John Irving ( 10)

8. Favorite Winter Stories from Fireside AI, Alan Maitland

9. Lord of Chaos, Robert Jordan (8)

10. Faith, Len Deighton

( ) Position last week

NONFICTION

1. On the Take, Stevie Cameron (1)

2. Long Walk to Freedom, Nelson Mandela (2)

3. Crossing the Threshold of Hope,

Pope John Paul II (3)

4. The Microphone Wars, KnowltonNash (5)

5. Karen Kain: Movement Never Lies,

Karen Kain (8)

6. Winnie-the-Pooh on Management, Roger E. Allen

7. James Herriot’s Cat Stories, James Herriot

8. Riel, Maggie Siggins

9. Jean Béliveau: My Life in Hockey, Jean Béliveau (4) 10. Trudeau and Our Times, Vol. 2,

Christina McCall and Stephen Clarkson (10)

Compiled by Brian Bethune

POP MOVIES

Top movies in Canada, ranked according to box-office receipts during the seven days that ended on Dec. 15. (In brackets: number of screens/weeks showing.)

1. Disclosure (122/1).........................................$1,064,800

2. The Santa Clause (126/5)..............................$855,500

3. Drop Zone (83/1)..............................................$526,000

4. Star Trek Generations (127/4).....................$420,700

5. Junior (106/4).....................................................$295,700

6. The Lion King (119/4)......................................$254,800

7. Interview with the Vampire (85/5).............$234,000

8. Pulp Fiction (60/9)............................................$214,300

9. Stargate (67/7)...................................................$153,700

10. Trapped in Paradise (78/2)...........................$128,700

COPYRIGHT ENTERTAINMENT DATA INC.

RADIO ON THE ROCK

One of the worst blackouts in Newfoundland’s history left thousands of residents without electricity for more than three lays earlier this month. With winds reaching 130 km/h and freezing rain pelting down, many people were trapped in their homes. The few stores that were open sold out of every available lashlight and gas stations rationed kerosene.

3ut, as usual, the citizens of The Rock rose above idversity. To help keep people in touch with îach other, St. John’s radio station VOCM-AM switched from its rock-music format to an openline service for callers. Station manager Tom Ormsby said that VOCM received more than 13,000 calls in two days. “It was only supposed to be two hours long,” he explained, “but we felt we needed to keep going.” Many of the calls came from people in real need of help— and they usually received it. One caller said that someone was sick in his house and needed medication; it arrived within three minutes. “One guy phoned in and said he was driving around with a tub of hot soup,” said Ormsby. “He wanted to know who needed it.” But such a spirit of goodwill did not always prevail. Memorial University students—complaining that they had to cram for exams by candlelight—repeatedly phoned the radio station to see whether the school planned to cancel exams. But the students’ laments elicited little general sympathy from other callers. “What are all the students griping about?” queried one woman. “Thomas Edison was a pretty bright guy—what the hell was he studying under when he invented the light bulb?”

RISKY BUSINESS

For many people, the Christmas season offers the chance to feel safe and secure among family and friends. But in his just-published Book of Risks, University of Hawaii logic professor Larry Laudan shows that, even at Christmas, life offers no holiday from danger. A sample of everyday odds:

That people will be injured by a faulty TV in any given year: 1 in 7,000

Injuries serious enough to require medical attention while shaving in any given year: 1 in 7,000

That people will die— •from the flu, should they contract it: 1 in 5,000

•from botulism, should they contract it: 7 in 10

•while sitting in a chair or lying in bed: 1 in 400

That people will be diagnosed with cancer tomorrow: 1 in 100,000

The single riskiest hour of the week for fatal traffic accidents: Saturday between 2 and 3 a.m.

Month in which people are most likely to die by poisoning, or from a fire or fall: December

Percent by which people are more likely to die by accident in Yukon than Ontario: 310

THE MAYOR AND THE EXTREMIST

Marc Duelos has been mayor of Greenfield Park, Que., a Montreal suburb, for little more than a month, but he is already in hot water. Last week, Le Journal de Montréal revealed that Duelos, a 35-year-old former cabinetmaker, is a supporter of Lyndon LaRouche, the leader of an extreme right-wing organization in the United States that espouses racist and anti-Semitic views—including statements that the Holocaust never happened. At a news conference hastily called to deal with the resulting public outcry, Duelos promised that he would cancel his subscription to Executive Intelligence Review, a biweekly LaRouche publication, and he would stop going to seminars put on by the Schiller Institute, a front for the LaRouche organization in Montreal. Duelos acknowledged that he had attended a seminar in Washington earlier this year, where he met LaRouche, now 71, who had recently completed a five-year prison term for conspiracy to commit mail fraud. But Duelos denied any awareness of LaRouche’s racist credo. “When I went to Washington, I did not hear any remarks that could be described that way,” he insisted. Officials of the Canadian Jewish Congress said they were pleased with the mayor’s response to the controversy, but they say that he has not gone far enough. “He never denounced the views of Lyndon LaRouche,” said congress official Mike Cohen. “That is our major concern.” The congress, and no doubt many others, will be keeping a close watch on Duelos.