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Anthony Wilson-Smith February 28 2000
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Overture

Anthony Wilson-Smith February 28 2000

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@macleans.ca

Anthony Wilson-Smith

Shanda Deziel

Over and Under Achievers

Lloyd’s lectures

Revealed: the Prime Minister’s secret plan—government by VAl-Mart!

Lloyd Axworthy: Foreign affairs minister, all talk versus those who prop up foreign despots, is no action when a Canadian company is involved. And he wants land mines banned internationally—while the Canadian military still has claymores. Score on principles for week: Money 2, Mouth, 0.

Jerry Lewis: Says women are a “producing machine” for making babies, and also that they make unfunny comedians. By that measure, guess he takes after his mother....

^Jean Chrétien: $500,000 goes for a warehouse in Cornwall, supplying WalMart stores, then $200,000 for a water fountain for his own riding. Couldn’t he find one cheaper in Cornwall?

Letitia Cables: Filipina nanny is ordered to leave the country because she works too hard. We have zero tolerance for that here.

Fox network: They call it “reality TV,” but the mysterious groom on Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire is really a stand-up comic—and the “marriage” could be called off any time. Sounds like the kind of business plan Jane Stewart’s human resources department approves every day.

Television Talk

Talk like a TV floor director:

Noddies: Reporter nods briskly at thin air; taped result is spliced into report so viewers see interviewee making point, followed by shot of attentive reporter.Technique saves expense of second camera.

Double hop: When signal must travel via two satellites to span large distances. As in: “A double hop from Jerusalem via London to bring the news feed into Toronto.”

Good get: Hard-to-reach newsmaker, though not always a dynamic interview. As in: “A bank chairman is a good get.”

Talker: Someone of lower news value, but eloquent and charismatic. As in, “Herb Gray is a talker.” Hard count: Precise time left before unbendable break or end. As in, “Your hard count is 10 seconds.”

Oscar Tribute

Somewhere up there, a late great Canadian director deserves to be proud. Phillip Borsos, who died of leukemia in 1995 at age 41, has connections to four contenders in this year’s Academy Awards. They

are Richard Farnsworth (best actor), The Cider House Rules (best picture), John Irving (best adapted screenplay) and Lasse Hallström

(best director).

Farnsworth starred in Borsos’

1982 feature, The Grey Fox. In

1985, Borsos met Irving, who had just finished Cider House. They worked together on the screenplay and cast for leads. When Borsos fell ill, he and Irving approached Swedish director Hallström to take over.The rest is Oscar history— and a final footnote to Borsos’ impressive achievements.

Overheard

\es, Minister?

In the past month, some Canadians received telephone calls from EKOS Research Associates Inc.—a polling firm with high-level Liberal connections—seeking participation in a survey sponsored by Citizenship and Immigration Minister Elinor Caplans department. The poll takes about 20 minutes to complete and contains some intriguing questions. It asks respondents how they would feel if someone from the United Kingdom, France or Algeria moved next door, asks respondents to rate Caplans performance and concludes by asking how respondents would vote in an election today.

It’s considered unusual—and generally improper—to ask partisan questions on a taxpayer-paid survey. Andrew Sullivan, a senior EKOS consultant, confirmed the poll’s exis tence, but said of the

question on vote intention: I he government didn’t ask for it and wouldn’t pay for it.” The question was for the firm’s own uses, he said. “You cost a survey by length,” said Sullivan. “So if you add a minute onto a 20-minute survey, we calculate the cost and bill accordingly.” So when does government business end—and partisan questioning begin? The measure here is a ticking clock.

Overbites

“Yes, I admit it. I was planning to steal a pair of the Queens knickers.........Suddenly I realized was standing right behind me.” -Former British Life Guards Capt. Nick Carrell confesses his 1992 heist attempt to the Sunday People newspaper

“The Transitional Jobs Fund came into vogue in 1995. It transitioned itself into the Canada Jobs Fund in 1997.” -Human Resources Minister Jane Stewart, discussing her department’s controversial billion-dollar grants fund

“Look at me, I’m missing a button.” -Stewart, on why she needs an image consultant

“God wants to point at us as this unlikely bunch and say to the trouble spots of the world, ‘Look at them. They had a nightmare called apartheid. It ended. Your nightmare, too, will end.’ ” -South Africa’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu, during a visit to Toronto

“I am one of the few Austrian politicians willing to regret some mistakes he has made.” -Jörg Haider, leader of the Austrian Freedom Party, in Montreal

“Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, -Peanuts creator Charles Schulz, in a note posted on www.peanuts.com just after his death on Feb. 12

Over the Shoulder

Don Cherry, hockey maven: I’m reading books by and about Lawrence of Arabia, a strange, fascinating hero: The Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T. E. Lawrence and Prince of Our Disorder: The Life of 77 E. Lawrence, by John E. Mack.

Patricia Rozema, director: I’m reading Daughter of the Queen of Sheba by Jacki Lyden, about a woman with a mother who thinks she’s the Queen of Sheba. It’s a frightening, beautiful mother-daughter relationship, but completely bewildering. A friend said it screamed “Me.” I think she was referring to the insanity of the mother.

Norman Jewison, director: I just finished a fabulous book by James Salter, called Burning the Days: Recollection. The book recalls Paris in the ’50s. He writes about people I knew, like Frank Capra and Greta Garbo.

Trend Watch

Nostalgia for the '90s: remember life before voice mail, Ralph Benmergui’s late show-and the joys of cross-border shopping? In the early '90s, places like Bellingham, Wash., Buffalo and Plattsburg, N.Y., fattened up on GST-maddened Canadians.Then, the loon went south in value-and shoppers rediscovered local malls. Statistics Canada charts the relationship between the dollar and same-day auto trips:

Once Over

Hitler’s quiet foes

Last week, Maria Therese Paasche (née von Hammerstein) died at 90. She was part of a German military family who twice tried to assassinate Hitler and also helped Jews escape the country. Her son, Gottfried Paasche, a sociology professor at York University, recalls their family history:

My mother didn’t talk about what went on back in Germany. She considered information dangerous. Her father, Gen. Kurt von Hammerstein, was chief of staff of the army from 1930 till he was pushed out in 1934. He understood Hider coming to power would mean war. In the ’30s, my mother began to warn Zionist friends of who was to be arrested. She would take Jews to Prague. The Gestapo began to question her. In 1935, my mother and father, John Paasche, moved to Japan,

where my father, who was Jewish and studied Oriental languages, could work.

In 1940, my grandfather invited Hitler to military headquarters on the French front: he planned to kill him. Hider was suspicious of Hammerstein and did not come. His sons Ludwig and Kunrat were conspirators in the 1944 plot to kill Hitler (with a bomb). Ludwig was to confirm Hider was dead, arrest members of the Nazi military and protect generals who were part of the conspiracy. When the bomb went off, Hitler was injured but not killed. Ludwig and Kunrat escaped. My grandmother and my mother’s two youngest siblings were put in concentration camps. They were freed by the Allies. My sisters and I grew up patriotically Japanese and I was amazed when my parents welcomed American occupation. We were allowed to move to the United States in 1948. My mother was serious-minded: by not making distinctions between people, she managed to do the right thing.