Opening Notes

Tanya Davies January 10 2000

Opening Notes

Tanya Davies January 10 2000

Opening Notes

Stronach’s daughter and King Koss tie the knot

Tanya Davies

They make a powerhouse couple for a new century: King Koss and the boss’s daughter. In New Year’s Eve nuptials near Vail, Colo., Norse speed-skating legend Johann Olav Koss, 31, married Canadian Belinda Stronach, 33, the heir apparent to Frank Stronach’s Magna International auto-parts empire. For the ceremony, the bride wore a ’40s-inspired silverblue silk gown, while the groom donned a more predictable black tux. Their only unease was to keep the Norwegian media from prying because Koss, who won three gold medals at the Fillehammer Olympics in 1994, has become an icon in his homeland.

Since retiring from his sport, Koss has finished a medical degree and his name has become synonymous with the campaign to clean up the Olympics. Recently, he was appointed an athlete member of the International Olympic Committee and a leader of the World Anti-Doping Agency. Stronach is no slouch either. A hardworking executive at Magna, she is also president of the fashion house Misura Inc. (which designed her wedding attire) and active in Magna’s charitable pursuits. In fact, backing a group concerned about the state

of the IOC led Stronach to meet Koss last April in Fondon.

The newlyweds plan to live mainly at her home on the Stronach estate north of Toronto. Given the family fortune (Magna is a $10-billion-a-year concern) and the fact that Stronach has two children from a previous marriage, Koss signed a prenuptial agreement. But expect to see the pair using their resources to get behind some good causes. “We’ll have to evaluate what we want to pursue as a couple,” says Stronach. “We both want to do something positive with our lives to make a positive impact on society.” But first, the lovebirds plan to hit the slopes for a skiing honeymoon.

A nameless time

A new decade has landed, but what to call it? The naming of the decades began in the 1880s and has since provided a useful reference point in 10-year chunks. There have been the Roaring ’20s, Dirty ’30s, styles of the ’50s, retro music of the ’80s and kids of the ’90s.

But besides “turn of the century,” there is no term for the first decade of the 20th century. And now a similar void greets the arrival of 2000.

A definitive term has yet to catch on. Many agree that “the ohs” sounds weird, yet The New York Times has written in favour of it. Some suggest the “aughts,” while The Washington Tost is pushing “the preteens.” Meanwhile, at the Web site, the “naught-ies” took an early lead.

I Katherine Barber, editor-in-chief of ¿ the Canadian Oxford Dictionary, says she i doubts the naught-ies will make it. “It is “ too cute, too precious,” says Barber, who f can’t offer a prediction herself. “Fexicog; raphers don’t have crystal balls. We wait I and see what catches on and then put z that in the dictionary.” Barber suggests the name will come from the mass media: “Often something like a hit television show will offer the term that sticks.” With Seinfeld gone, maybe Regis and one of his prospective millionaires can provide the “final answer.”

Opening Notes




For years, the dilemma of how to safely dispose of small bombs—including those filled with chemical and biological warfare agents— plagued security agencies all over the world. But now, a Canadian product called Blast Guard is capable of both containing bombs for safe disposal and killing deadly chemical agents that may be released on detonation.

The Mounties have been using early versions of Blast Guard, developed by the RCMP and the department of national defence, over the past nine years. “When we started to deal with the issue of terrorists who might use biological and chemical warfare, we didn’t have anything on the shelf to work with,” says Sgt. John Bureaux, of the RCMP’s explosive disposal and technology section, who was part of the design team.

Blast Guard consists of a domeshaped tent made of a flexible, felt-like material. The 1.5-m high, 14-kg tent is erected over the bomb by a robot.

The structure protects bomb disposal experts who can safely work on disarming the explosive through small openings in the tent. If the bomb is going to explode, a specially formulated foam consisting of water and decontaminants is injected into the tent to capture bomb fragments and destroy chemical agents if they exist.

The RCMP and the DND licensed the technology to Fort Erie, Ont.based Irvin Aerospace Canada Ltd. in 1998. After spending approximately $500,000 on fine-tuning, Irvin started marketing Blast Guard 18 months ago. So far, 10 units have been sold to security agencies around the world. Susan Oh

A virtual Lotusland

A perfect Web site for exiled Vancouverites or for those who are thinking of moving to Vancouver, offers a virtual tour of actual streets in the city’s downtown core. Created by Danilo Jurisich, 26, a Lethbridge, Alta., native who moved to Vancouver four years ago, the site has 350 segments of interactive panoramic photographs. Viewers can click on a picture and travel up a street to the next photo. Jurisich’s favourites include the beach at English Bay on a sunny day and the courthouse at the corner of Robson and Howe.



In future, it may be the smell of the clothes that makes the man. Three Korean companies, LG Fashion, Essess Heartist and Kolon International, have started selling men’s suits made from scented fabric. The material is soaked in a chemical that contains scented micro-capsules that pop and release a fragrance when the wearer moves. Priced between $300 and $500, the pine, lavender and peppermint-scented suits are selling out in stores in Seoul and in fashionconscious Los Angeles. No word yet on when Canadians are likely to catch their drift.

Opening Notes



1. A GOOD HOUSE, Bonnie Burnard (6)...........1

2. NO GREAT MISCHIEF Alistair MacLeod (9).......3

3. ELIZABETH AND AFTER, Matt Cohen (2).........2

4. PILGRIM, Timothy Findley (18)................6

5. TIMELINE, Michael Crichton (4) ...............5

6. SECOND WIND, Dick Francis (2)...............4

7. DAUGHTER OF FORTUNE, Isabel Allende (4) .....7

8. BLUEATTHE MIZZEN, Patrick O’Brian (1)

9. PERSONAL INJURIES, Scott Turow (11) .........9

10. THE MARK OF THE ANGEL, Nancy Huston (8).....8


1. 'TIS, Frank McCourt (12)..................1


Mark Young (ed.) (3)........................3

3. LAST PAGE FIRST, Allan Fotheringham (8) .......6


David Suzuki and Holly Dressel (4).............2

5. SISTERS IN THE WILDERNESS, Charlotte Gray (7) ... 5

6. WILLIAM OSLER, Michael Bliss (5).............9


CENTURY, Neil Postman (3) ..................7

8. A LIFE IN THE BUSH, Roy MacGregor (3) ........8

9. JAN WONG'S CHINA, Jan Wong (12)............4

10. GALILEO’S DAUGHTER, Dava Sobel (3).......10

( ) Weeks on list Compiled by Brian Bethune

Down on the farm

Journalist Marsha Boulton, a former Macleans editor, moved to the Ontario countryside a decade ago and later won the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour for her Letters from the Country. She builds on her previous work in a new book, Letters from Across the Country (McArthur & Co.) by including readers’ own odd tales of life on the farm. So it is that Boulton’s account of reviving drowning chicks with vodka is topped by the story of an alcoholic rooster, and her worries over reeking of sheep are put in perspective by a farm wife’s story of being butted into a manure pile just before meeting her daughter’s fiancé. But Boulton—if not her dog—can claim top prize for her account of her bullterrier’s keystone-cops performance in a dog show.