Anthony Wilson-Smith,Mary Janigan July 1 2000


Anthony Wilson-Smith,Mary Janigan July 1 2000



Anthony Wilson-Smith

Shanda Deziel

Traders, NHL-style

The grapevine, online

The NHL season is finally over—but on the Internet, hockey talk continues. “The playoffs were kinda boring,” says Brady Bjornson. “Now, things get interesting as we move into trading season.”

Bjornson and Cory Harrower, both 14-year-old Winnipeggers, started Puckfans.com last summer—focusing on NHL rumours—because,

Bjornson says, “we were tired of cutting lawns.”

They thought of the idea on a golf course: Harrower then slept over at Bjornson’s so they could re-

search on the Net. They chose rumours as their subject because, for one thing, most rumour action takes place in summer when school is out. They first repeated rumours found in newspapers: within a month, they were listed on Yahoo! That led to advertisers, and enough money to hire a writer. Traffic soon

jumped from 2,100 to 14,000 hits a month. Now, they have eight paid writers as well as 27 volunteers. With companies such as ESPN advertising, the pair say their grass-cutting days are gone. If one recent prediction rings true, maybe Eric Lindros will retire—and then come on board as a source.

Over and Under Achievers

Voters: take the Long way home

Kim Jong Ils fashion tips! The Demi-monde of a Winnipeg dog! Tiger burning bright! And rock on, North Americans!

^ Kim Jong II: Good news for world peace, bad news for fashionistas— South Koreans so happy over peace entreaties from leader of North Korea, they’re buying same styles of plug-ugly sunglasses and workers’ uniforms.

)y Edgar Bronfman Jr. : Sale of Seagram means lots more money— but Mr. Sam would never have settled for being No. 2.

^The Maple Leaf Forever: Well, er, every July 1, just so long as we don’t disturb the neighbours— party onnnnn, Canada !

^ Tom Long: Would you buy a used vote from this man?

^ Demi the Dog: An inspirational role model for men. The 8.5-kg poodle treks 30 km over five days from kennel back to Winnipeg home—and never once asks for directions.

Tiger Woods: The question these days is whether—not when—he’ll ever lose a golf tournament again.

The Stars and Stripes : Be as loud and proud as you want on July 4 — your northern neighbours and pals wish you well.

How nice are your neighbours?

If you want to live in the friendliest areas of Canada, there are a few criteria that can improve the odds: be in a family with children, have a single detached home and reside in a rural area, especially Newfoundland. Those are findings from a huge Statistics Canada survey that asked nearly 70,000 adults how close they are to their neighbours.

Percentage of adult population who talked with a neighbour at least once a week

Source: Statistics Canada

Cartoon Capers

A gnome wasn’t built in a day

Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski are two talented animators with no dreams of being snatched up by Disney and shipped off to Los Angeles. From their studio in downtown Toronto, Szczerbowski says: “We just want to move back to Montreal and work for the government.” They mean the National Film Board of Canada, long known for its Oscar-winning animation. The pair call themselves Clyde Llenry, and they boast an eclectic portfolio that includes, among others, a bimonthly satirical and somewhat raunchy cartoon strip in Canadas urban magazine Vice, animated intros for Space: The Imagination Station; art direction for MuchMusic’s Gay Pride parade float; a cover of Chirp magazine, which is geared to twoto six-year-olds; and— no joke—secret blueprints for the department of national defence.

Most of their work involves creating three-dimensional marionettes, sets and props from scratch, using

anything they find: that often includes other people’s garbage, dollarstore trinkets, plastic doll parts and toys. Recently, they built a rocket for one of their Space projects with a funnel, toilet-brush holder, mini beer keg, top of a cranberry j uice j ug, lamp fixture, Ping-Pong balls and two glue container tops.

For their latest comic strip, they made garden gnomes and took them to the woods to act out scenes. “We got tired of our old strip for Vice, which catered to 18-year-old boys,” says Lavis. “In this one, the gnomes are extremely smart, hang out in the woods making espressos and talking about Max Ophtils films.” Lavis and Szczerbowski are also storyboarding an animated short that they hope the NFB will fund: that way they can flee ... to Montreal.

Bank on Whom?

The search for a replacement for Bank of Canada governor Gordon Thiessen is now focusing on two main candidates: the bank’s senior deputy governor, Malcolm Knight, and Royal Bank chief economist John McCallum. Observers believe Thiessen favors the selection of Knight, a 56-year-old economist who joined the bank in May, 1999, after 24 years at the Internationa] Monetary Fund. In his first few months on the job, Knight appeared

to be a cinch to succeed Thiessen. But Finance Minister Paul Martin may now opt for an outside candidate to formulate monetary policy—if only because Knight has not impressed other pivotal central bank officials. “This has not been Malcolm’s year,” said a bank insider. Martin also respects— and likes—McCallum, who likely has more support on Bay Street.

Mary Janigan

Unfriendly Skies

‘Tour plane is... taxiing’

By the time he got to Ottawa airport one recent Saturday night, Michael Marzolini, chairman of the polling firm Pollara Inc., had already tabulated a survey on passenger dissatisfaction with Air Canada. The Liberal pollster was tired: he had just attended a day-long strategy meeting of the party’s national election campaign committee. So he was annoyed to hear his flight had been cancelled due to mechanical failure. Although Air Canada has officially swallowed its rival, Canadian Airlines International Ltd., Marzo linis flight was handled by the Canadian counter. The pollster asked, in vain, about trains, Air Canada flights or charters.

Under pressure from stranded passengers, including a couple who were supposed to catch an early flight from Toronto to Las Vegas to be married, Canadian Airlines staff produced one hotel room. Marzolini hired a cabarriving home 11 hours after he left for the airport. Ironically, he had just compiled a survey that showed that 54 per cent of 1,000 respondents— including almost two-thirds of frequent flyers—want American carriers to have access to domestic routes.

“I was surprised,” says Marzolini. “Then, after my experience, I realized flyers have to keep using people who insult them—and never say they’re sorry.” Canadian Airlines spokesman Dean Brawn said the Fokker F-28 jet was grounded because of “an incident with a tire” at noon the day before—and the flight was cancelled eight hours later. “The only people who would have showed up at the airport,” he added, “would have been people that we didn’t have a contact number for.” Too bad for them.

M. J.