Sofa, so good

Overture

Shanda Deziel,Amy Cameron October 8 2001
Sofa, so good

Overture

Shanda Deziel,Amy Cameron October 8 2001

Overture

Shanda Deziel

Amy Cameron

"I’ve reached the pinnacle of my career.

The desire is not there. Five years down the line if the competitive urge comes back, if the Bulls want me, if David will have me back in the league ...’’

—Michael Jordan retires in 1993 and comments on whether he would ever come back to the NBA.

“Hopefully, that number [23] going up / will put thoughts that I’m coming back to rest. I’m playing baseball.”

-On Nov. 1,1994, Jordan refers to the retirement of his jersey at the United Center in Chicago and insists he’s not returning to basketball.

Overbites

“I’m back.”

-Four months later, Jordan faxes his agent with the news he’s coming back to the NBAafter quitting baseball.

"This is a perfect time for me to walk away from the game. I am at peace with that.

I’ll never say never, but I’m 99 to 99.9 per cent sure that’s it.”

-In 1999, after winning back-to-back-to-back NBA championships, Jordan leaves again.

“I am returning as a player to the game I love.” -On Sept. 25,2001, 38-year-old Jordan sends out a terse news release announcing he will play for the Washington Wizards, a team he partly owns (he will sell his stake).

Sofa, so good

It may look like an old, worthless piece of furniture. It may even smell like one. But the black 80-year-old leather sofa that the Parliamentary Press Gallery owns and keeps in one of its offices—is a priceless piece of Canadian heritage that has pitted the gallery against Parliament Hills acting curator. The couch is the sole survivor of seven made in 1921 for the lobbies of the newly created House of Commons and was designed by the Peace Towers architect, John Andrew Pearson—whose birthplace happens to be Chesterfield, England. The other six were given away during the 1960s and can’t be relocated.

If curator Audrey Dube has her way, it will be returned to the Centre Block. She insists that the three-metre-long sofa with walnut feet and back-rolled arm rests is too important to remain where it is. “First of all, the temperature is not good and people | regularly smoke in there,” says Dube. “I’ve f even seen people having a nap on it.” Terry | Guillon, who is chief of the press gallery, | says that if there are worries about the conf dition of the sofa—the cushions are torn and the leather is cracked—he’s willing to have it stored away until the House of Commons provides the money to repair it. “And as soon as it is done,” says Guillon, “we will bring it back.” Not so, says Dube. She insists that when the couch is returned, it will be refurbished, kept and used to help create a series of imitations for the House.

A sofa squabble, indeed. Luke Fisher

Over and Under Achievers

Jean Chrétien: Jury out on his

overall post-Sept. 11 performance, but his call for an Arab-Canadian art show to go ahead, after a visit to a mosque, creates home-front goodwill.

James Traficant: U.S.

Democrat representative says terrorists who flew into the WTC came through Canada. No evidence of that, of course. Worst of the blame-Canada talk.

Climb down, flip-flop and comeback

♦ Paul Martin: Rhetorical shift to saving “fiscal integrity,” a climb-down from old vows to stay out of deficit. Time for finance minister to rediscover his spine.

♦'Allan Rock: User fees for health care? Minister says leave that one to the Romanow commission.

Nurses’ association howls. Rock relents, slams user fees. Allan, what’s the commission for?

♦ Michael Jordan:

The world knows U.S. deserves a lift. But yet another comeback by the superstar who can’t make calling it quits stick? Let’s hope Barry Bonds keeps hitting homers.

PRODUCING PATRIOTISM

Who says Canadians aren’t flag-wavers? With the terrorist crisis south of the border, many Canadians are buying up American flags to fly in a show of solidarity with their neighbours. As a result, flag manufacturers in Canada are working around the clock, not only to supply the U.S. market, but also to cater to the Canadian demand. Flags Unlimited, a Barrie, Ont.-based manufacturer, is one of the largest flag companies in North America. Since Sept. 11, the firm has sold approximately 100,000 flags—50,000 of those in Canada. The company, which can produce 500 three-inch-by-five-inch flags per hour, has been operating 24 hours a day since Sept. 13 and has hired 60 extra staff to help with the orders. “It’s nuts,” says Jane Cocking of Flags Unlimited, adding that they had expected an increased demand from their American customers. “What we didn’t anticipate was the Canadian demand. We had no idea there would be so many people wanting American flags.” Large companies aren’t the only ones working on overdrive. Northern Woods Clothing Co., a small clothing manufacturer in Bracebridge, Ont., starting making T-shirts and shipping them to distributors across the U.S. within days of the terrorist attacks. The company has sold 20,000 shirts bearing the words “They will not tear us apart,” with a sketch of the continental U.S. coloured in with the American flag—and are shipping 5,000 more each day. “We have more or less dropped all our Canadian business to do this,” says Phil Ward, sales manager. “If someone was waiting for a butterfly sweater in Saskatoon or another whale shirt down in Lunenburg, they are still waiting.” Ward says the firm wresded with the ethics of cashing in on the tragedy and decided to donate 50 cents from each $10 shirt sale to the American Red Cross.

Donating divas

To support aid workers and grief-stricken families south of the border, Canadian celebrities are opening their hearts and wallets in response to the recent terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington. Here’s what some of our stars are offering: Legendary funny man Jim Carrey has donated $ 1 million to help victims’ families. Carrey, the first actor to earn a $20-million salary, wants to “encourage other people to contribute as generously as they can.”

★ Celine Dion emerged from semiretirement to sing God Bless America on the commercial-free telethon America: A Tribute to Heroes and headlined a five-hour show in Montreal featuring 200 artists, including Peter Gabriel.

★ Alanis Morissette is “offering comfort to everyone who is grieving” with the release of an Internet-only version of a new song called Utopia.

★ Sarah McLachlan has recorded live versions of two of her most popular songs, Angel and I Will Remember You, for radio play. Originally recorded in the late 1990s, the songs placed fourth and fifth on a list of crisis-related songs with the greatest airplay. The songs can be used without charge by any station that wants to play them.

One essay on America, two Canadian voices

Sinclair wrote the two-page opinion piece for his program, Let's Be Personal. A Buffalo radio station called for a copy and then distributed it to other stations in the U.S. Sinclair’s essay was read out loud in Congress and reproduced in newspapers.

When the United States needs a patriotic boost, an essay penned by Canadian radio host Gordon Sinclair in 1973 is just the ticket. The Toronto broadcaster wrote “The Americans” near the end of the Vietnam War añer he heard the American Red Cross was out of money. In Sinclair’s opinion, the U.S. had come to the aid of many othersyet was still constantly criticized.

‘This Canadian thinks it is time to speak up for the Americans as the most generous and possibly the least-appreciated people in all the earth.” That essay recently resurfaced on the Internet and on American radio stations. Here is a brief history of one Canadian’s inspirational words:

Another Canadian, Detroit-based disc jockey Byron MacGregor, read the essay with Bridge over Troubled Water playing in the background. A Detroit record company asked MacGregor to record it with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra playing America the Beautiful. That version was released as a single, selling three million copies. MacGregor became a minor celebrity, appearing on The Merv Griffin Show, the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite, and he was interviewed on The Today Show by Barbara Walters.

Meanwhile, when Sinclair went to make his own recording-with the Battle Hymn of the Republic as the background music-the American market was already saturated with MacGregor’s version. Sinclair’s single sold 400,000 copies. Both broadcasters gave all their profits to the American Red Cross. Sinclair died in 1984 before seeing the spoken-word recordings revived in 1991 during the Persian Gulf War. MacGregor died in 1995.