The Mail

The Mail

Barenaked fanatics

October 9 2000
The Mail

The Mail

Barenaked fanatics

October 9 2000

The Mail

Barenaked fanatics

“Ladies on top”? Well, it’s about time (Cover, Sept. 25). I knew it the first time I saw the Barenaked Ladies in concert in 1994, while getting pelted in the back of the head with uncooked macaroni. This group of young men is one of the most original, innovative and talented to come our way in a very, very long time. They make me laugh {If I Had a Million Dollars), they make me cry ( What a Good Boy) and they make me remember {Grade Nine). This is the only group I know of whose songs that do not make it to the airwaves are even better than the fine ones that do. Oh, and by the way, my 20-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter think they’re pretty good, too.

Sue Simpson, Windsor, Ont.

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It’s about time Canada’s wittiest band gets the respect that it deserves. I hope they put their millions of dollars towards sound investments, like a llama or an emu.

Doug Trueman, Calgary

You state that the BNL, “for the first time since they were blacklisted [by former mayor June Rowlands, in 1992], they are performing outside City Hall.” I was present when Mayor Barbara Hall announced, “My Toronto includes the Barenaked Ladies!” at a New Year’s Eve bash at City Hall in 1994. Darren W. MacDonald, Aurora, Ont.

I have been a fanatic of the Barenaked Ladies since 1990, have followed them through their good and bad times, and felt that you did them more than justice in your article. I feel that you captured the incredible amount of emotional stress the band has had to deal with since their last release, Stunt. As a political, informed young Canadian, I appreciate your magazines weekly efforts to capture the spirit of Canada both in our nation and around the world. Andrea N. Smith, Burlington, Ont.

Funding for kids

The announced $2.2-billion increase in federal funding for early-childhood development is crucial (“Ready to rumble,” Canada, Sept. 25). Such funding can lead to the acquisition of effective parenting skills that are more likely to ensure the physical and emotional wellbeing of children in addition to enhancing intellectual growth. The quality of the neural network of a child’s brain is mostly determined by the quality of the care and stimulation received during preschool years. All children deserve to be cherished as a source of joy

Focus on victory

I read with interest “Sydney sizzle” (Olympics, Sept. 25), in which the misfortune that befell triathlete Carol Montgomery was documented. My initial reaction was to feel sympathetic to her plight—until I read her comment on the situation. She stated that she prepared herself for the worst “and the worst happened.” With all due respect to her athletic ability and hard work, Montgomery had lost that race before she even got on the plane to Australia. Her attitude is all too typical of our international athletes who enter a competition such as the Olympics with a focus on personal best rather than victory. No other nation puts such an emphasis on the concept of personal best as Canada. I fear that personal best is being used as a crutch by coaches who are more concerned with job security than actually helping their athletes win. If we’re going to truly compete on the international stage, personal best has to be replaced with worlds best.

James E. Agnew, Whitby, Ont.

in the present as well as of hope for the future. This Canadian head start is a definite step in the right direction.

Edith Gvora, Victoria

Conflicting memories

The society on which Claire Hoy looks with such nostalgia, typified by his revered grandmother, is indeed an interesting one and deserving of a more detailed examination (“Pushing the pendulum,” Cover Opinion, Sept. 11). Many of us who were as close to this society as Hoy view it from a much different perspective. There are many words that can be used to describe such a society—bigoted, hypocritical and intolerant are three. This was a society where the children of the most faithful churchgoers saw fit (with tacit parental approval) to laugh at their less-fortunate schoolmates, who wore patched clothes and ate lard sandwiches. Given the vagaries of an unregulated marketplace,

The Mail

there was never any shortage of children who fell into this category. This was a society where a major illness in a family could and often did result in the loss of a home or a farm. Often such losses worked to the monetary benefit of the more righteous members of this society who were in a position to take advantage of their neighbours’ misfortune. Thomas J. O’Gorman, Cobden, Ont.

As I read Claire Hoy’s article, I found myself increasingly surprised that a major national publication would print such a piece, let alone feature it. I am a conservative in almost all aspects of life—especially in social issues—and I am wondering if maybe, just maybe, I might be considered a normal person one of these days. Your printing this article gives me a bit of hope.

Ken Schamuhn, Grande Prairie, Alta.

I must laugh at Jean Chrétiens belief that he can conveniently separate his selective acceptance of his Catholic beliefs from his party’s populist support of abortion (“New might on the right,” Cover, Sept. 11). Considering himself a good Catholic while supporting abortion seems to me much too convenient and politically expedient in light of his Church’s documented position. At least with Stockwell Day, you know what he thinks, whether it’s Sunday or Monday. P. G. Bickert, Kelowna, B.C.

As a Christian and a confirmed heterosexual, I am not convinced that my sexual orientation is any more sanctified than a homosexual’s. Some Christians unfortunately draw upon Old Testament prohibitions against non-reproductive sexuality. But they were pre-Christian heathen tribal proscriptions serving the survival needs of a small population trying to thrive under brutal conditions. Thus, it makes no sense for Christians to draw upon the Old Testament prohibitions. If they insist, they should convert to Judaism or Islam. Christians should remember that Jesus stated in Matt. 5:22 that anyone who calls an-

other a fool “shall be in danger of hell fire.” We straights are certainly no closer to salvation than gays, and are as much hindered by pride, lust and other aspects of our carnal nature.

Damian St. Germaine, Toronto

I am incensed by Elizabeth Kalbfleisch’s letter in which she equates religion with ordered society (“Conservative agenda,” Mail, Sept. 25). Has she never heard of the Balkans, or Palestine? Or maybe she just means order in a Christian society. Oops! Northern Ireland spoils that argument. She also uses religion as a proponent of individual freedoms, but fails to mention that her idol, Stockwell Day—an upholder of the “classical liberal tradition”—does not want selected groups of people to employ their individual freedoms. We non-religious and the equally contemptuous new left, in her opinion, are forever bound together, which is utter, utter nonsense.

Bruce Little, Hamilton

Marconi’s telegraph

“Historical hoopla” (Overture, Aug. 14) is not entirely accurate. Guglielmo Marconi did not send a radio message from Signal Hill in St. John’s, Nfld., he sent a wireless telegraphic message. That is why for years many referred to Signal Hill as Telegraph Hill. Newfoundland was a British colony and the AngloAmerican Telegraph Co. had exclusive rights to telegraphy, so Marconi was banned from further activities in the colony. He was, however, persuaded to establish himself in Glace Bay, N.S., the following year, where, in December, 1902, he sent the worlds first radio message to ships at sea. The original site in Glace Bay now has a museum where one can see the remains of the huge radio towers used by Marconi. It is time Canadian history became less folkloric and more accurate about this great Italian inventor.

René J. Marin, Marconi Celebration Trust in Canada, Ottawa

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