Over Again

Anthony Wilson-Smith April 10 2000


Over Again

Anthony Wilson-Smith April 10 2000


Over Again

Anthony Wilson-Smith


With Shanda Deziel

Tongue untied

British writer Suzanne Glass ’s first novel, The Interpreter (McArthur & Co.), is based partly on her former work as a an interpreter. Glass, 37, is fluent in seven languages. She described to Associate Editor Brian Bethune her experiences in the profession:

I believe linguists are born, not made. At seven months,

I astonished my parents by repeating their words to them. Later, I mistakenly thought international interpreting would be glamorous. My first job at a dental conference ended that notion. I was up the whole previous night memorizing the French, German and Italian for gum disease and ulcers, and spent the next day interpreting the terminology at breakneck speed.

Interpreters strive to suppress their own thoughts. You can’t think too much or you affect the speaker s meaning. I spent two days underground with French and British engineers during the Channel Tunnel project, screaming over the noise about spoke lengths and wheel sizes. I kept thinking that if I got something wrong, a train would crash.

But you can’t stop thinking. The greatest danger is the idiom booby trap. One time, a French delegate criticized a speaker by saying ‘7/ marche à côté de ses pompes” —a phrase that means “he’s lost it.” A colleague puzzled the meeting with a literal translation: “He is walking beside his slippers.”

Over and Under Achievers

They all scream at ice cream’s cold war

Anglos go home; Celine wont stay home; ice cream’s unhappy home.

^Louise Beaudoin: Quebec language supremo says too much English spoken in ... France. Downside for anglos: would we want to understand what Parisian cabbies are saying to us?

+ Departed, disgruntled ex-Quebec anglos:

Score a moral victory as Jacques Parizeau says Rogers-Vidéotron merger would amount to “Toronto buying Montreal.” But no thanks: who needs all those potholes ?

^ Ben & Jerry: Counterculture zillionaires feud over whether to sell ice-cream company to capitalist running dog corporation Elnilever. Will that be one scoop or two of Cashout Crunch?

^ Molson Canadian: New beer ad scores big

with funny, emotional pitch to patriotism. Reminds us of key difference with U.S.A.: were the Zed-htaàs.

Ordinary Canadians: Clip and show to your bank manager: new study says our average worth is $96,800. Saaaay, how many two-fours does that buy ?

Celine Dion: Singer who “retired” from public eye plays in celeb golf tournament, jumps in pond with winner, gives impromptu concert, bares stomach to show she’s not pregnant, and then gives interview to say how much she likes privacy. As if.


Married, you say?

Artist William Ronald founded the group Painters Eleven in 1953, hosted CBC Radio’s As It Happens (1969 to 1972), and in the 1980s painted abstract portraits of prime ministers. Two years after his death at 71, Ronald still commands attention. In Robert Belton’s new biography, The Theatre of the I Self Ronald’s second wife, Alana, ap1 pears only in a footnote—accused by another woman of beating Ronald. “It’s not just that the claim is untrue,” says

the Montreal artist and ballet teacher who lived with Ronald from 1984 to 1994. “It’s being disappeared from Bill’s life, and from art history.”

Belton, associate dean of arts and education at Okanagan University College in Kelowna, B.C., is apologetic, saying: “It’s rather stupid.” He says he “got the impression,” from Ronald and Helen, his first wife, that Alana couldn’t be found. Now, he worries that in future, another biographer “will decide the relationship with her was key to the last decade of Ronald’s work.”

Brian Bethune

Once Over

Getting rich on old kitsch

Wealth by the yard

A yard sale, says Toronto author and expert R.J. Gulliver,

“is the last frontier to find a bargain. ” In his book The Net User’s Guide to Buying, Selling and Trading Collectibles, Gulliver describes a few items hell be watching for this year: (prices in U.S. dollars):

Artesanía Rinconada: “These

are animal figurines made in Uruguay. I found one called Carpincho for $7: it trades on nternet auctions for $250. If you saw it at a yard sale, you’d pay a dollar, and think you paid too much.”

My Little Pony: “These toy ponies usually resell for $10, but one named Rapunzel is selling for $150 to $175.”

Fishing lures: “There’s a big market for antique fishing lures. One recently sold for $2,425.”

Hot Wheels: “The most valuable

are early ones named Red Lines, with red sidewall on the tires. A vintage Red Line Camaro recently sold for $235.”

Board Games: “The rise of electronic video games has made board games hot. Recently a 1982 Blade Runner game sold for $91.”

Breyer Horses: “Plastic toy horses. I bought nine at a yard sale for $60 (Cdn.) and resold them over the Internet for $120.”

Books: “Look for books on animals—the more specialized the better. A book on terriers could easily be resold for $20 to $30.”

Warning: “Don’t buy Beanie Babies: that frenzy is over!


“I am pleased to report that in 1998 the prime minister of Finland [Paavo Lipponen] took advantage of his right to parental leave. I, for one, am promoting the widespread adoption of this fine example.”

-Cherie Blair, wife of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who is expecting the couple’s fourth child in May

“I havent. I know I should have and I’m sure I will.

I’ll decide in the next few weeks.”

-Blair, asked whether he has decided what to do

-Meanwhile, says The Associated Press:

“Under a law approved by the cabinet of [German Chancellor] Gerhard Schroeder, both parents can take up to three years oft when they have a child. Only 1.5 per cent of those taking leave in the past have been men.”

“Fathers [as a] percentage of all parents on leave has fluctuated between 3 and 4 per cent annually since 1991.”

-1998 Statistics Canada report

Home a-loon

When it comes to vacation time, more Canadians are spending money at home—joined by biggerspending tourists from abroad. Tourism spending nationally was 7.8 per cent higher in the last quarter of 1999 than the same period the previous year. Canadians spent 8.1 per cent more; non-resident spending rose 7.1 per cent for a total of about $2.5 billion. The biggest cause of higher non-resident spending is a rebound in tourism from the Asia-Pacific region: the number of

travellers is up 13.4 per cent. All of that generated a total of 524,600 fulland part-time jobs in the fourth quarter last year.

English only... s'il vousjüií

Last month, politically savvy cyberpranksters put one over on New Brunswick’s Anglo Society. The organization “dedicated to the promotion and protection of the English language” opposes bilingualism in New Brunswick. Their Web site, which contains members’ names and the group’s beliefs, was hacked last month—in a particularly innovative fashion. The cyber-intruders translated the contents of the Web site into French, then locked access to the site, preventing Anglo members from changing it back. Mon Dieu!


Hired: Journalist and broadcaster Pamela Wallin, 46,

signed a contract with CTV to host 'i and produce televi-1 sion shows through f her production com-1 pany. The Wadena, ^

Sask. native, who began her broadcast career with CTV in 1981, will inaugurate a show on its new Talk TV network next fall, and host some specials for the main network. Wallin has had a CBC show for the last five years. She also hosts Macleans TV on CTV.

Settled: Newspaper magnate Conrad Black dropped his libel suit against Britain’s ambassador to Germany, Sir Paul Lever, after Lever issued a public apology. The British Foreign Office agreed to pay Blacks legal costs. Black sued Lever for comments made in the German newspaper Die Welt, in which he said Black, who holds dual British and Canadian citizenship, was an anti-European foreigner, and added that his newspapers, including The Daily Telegraph, did not report European affairs in an objective manner. Lever said that his interview with the newspaper was misunderstood.

Died: The Joy of Sex author Alex Comfort, 80, was also a novelist, poet, gerontologist and nuclear disarmament campaigner. Although he liked to emphasize all his achievements, it was his 1972 sex manual, with illustrations and straightforward language that brought him fame—selling about 12 million copies. Sex educator Sue Johanson referred to him as the “instigator of the sexual revolution.” He had suffered numerous strokes while receiving care at a nursing home in Oxfordshire, England.

Died: Professional bull rider Glen Keeley, 30, was thrown from Promise Land—the sport’s most dangerous bull —in Albuquerque, N.M., during a rodeo.

The bull trampled the Calgary, Alta, rider’s chest and abdomen and, though Keeley walked away from the incident, he died at the hospital of internal injuries. Keeley, ranked ninth in the world, had won six Canadian bull-riding titles and one North American title. He had considered retiring before the start of this season. “He died doing what he loved,” said his brother Justin.

Died: Boston-born director, writer and actor Lewis Lehman moved to Canada in 1973 to work on the television show Police Surgeon, which was shot in Toronto. He stayed because of his respect for the National Film Board and the freedom it gave filmmakers. From 1981 to 1983 Lehman served as president of the Directors Guild of Canada. During the screening of a movie in which he had a role, he died of a heart attack, at age 67, at the National Film Board in Toronto.

Awarded: Author Peter Oliva, 35, who owns a Calgary bookstore, won the Rogers Writers’ Trust Award for Fiction for his second novel, The City of Yes. The inaugural Pearson Writers’ Trust Award for Non-Fiction went to University of Toronto history professor Modris Eksteins, 56, for the book Walking Since Daybreak: A Story of Eastern Europe, World War II, and the Heart of Our Century. Both writers received $10,000 at a ceremony which included a keynote address by Margaret Atwood.

Fired: The New York Rangers let go president and general manager Neil Smith and head coach John Muckier. The team has struggled since its 1994 Stanley Cup win. Retired Ranger Wayne Gretzky denied rumours that he was involved in choosing successors. No replacements have been named.

Died: American-born folk singer Ed McCurdy, 81, moved to the Maritimes in the 1940s. He forecast the 1950s folk boom on his CBC Radio show in 1946. A fixture at the Mariposa Folk Festival, he believed that real folk singers didn’t expect big success. McCurdy died of heart failure at a Halifax hospital.