Archive for January, 2009

Ben Viccari’s Canscene Vol 9 No. 2, February, 2009

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

Please note…….

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

If you’re on a low sodium food diet and suffering from lack of information on how to maintain manageable levels of sodium, please turn to The Last Word section at the end of this blog.

Humanity regained

Saturday, January 31st, 2009


(Canscene)     Welcome, Mr President!
It is with joy that I join the millions worldwide who hail your inauguration as the 44th president of the United States.

May you  always have the  strength of your  beliefs even though the road ahead be rough and forbidding and unpredictable.  And may those of us who supported you have patience and the courage to stand by you in these difficult days that lie ahead.


Why Black History Month?

Saturday, January 31st, 2009


by Rosemary Sadlier, O. Ont., president Ontario Black History Society

In the 1950’s the Canadian Negro Women’s Association brought  the celebration to Toronto, Ontario. By 1978, Ontario Black History Society successfully petitioned the City of Toronto to have the monthly celebration formally recognized. This celebration is now observed across Canada each February.

But why have a Black History Month? African Canadian students need to feel affirmed; need to be aware of the contributions made by other Blacks in Canada; need to have role models; need to understand the social forces which have shaped and influenced their community and their identities as a means of feeling connected to the educational experience and their life experience in various regions in Canada. They need to feel empowered. The greater Canadian community needs to know a history of Canada that includes all of the founding and pioneering experiences in order to work from reality, rather than perception alone. (more…)

Obama’s first days

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

(Canscene) — Acting on his promises, President Barack Obama filled his first full day of office with implementing some of them. His contacts with Middle Eastern leaders and an undertaking to close down Guantanamo had implicatons for the world scene while at home curbing lobbyists, strengthening ethics in government and salary freees for senior White House officials were all positive movies that will resnoate as the Democratic  government’s future unfolds.

Of course, the economical future of the U.S remains to be tackled if a major depression is to be halted, and the going wil not be smooth.  But at least Obama’s translating of rhetoric into action has had an auspicious beginning.

Move over Mrs. Malaprop!

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

(Canscene) — Sheridan’s 18th century comedy The Rivals introduced Mrs. Malaprop, a woman given to blunders in the use of the English language. Here are just a couple:  “He is the very pineapple (pinnacle) of success”and “I have since laid Sir Anthony’s preposition (proposition) before her.”

gwb-quoteHowever the rights to recognition as the crowned head of the malapropism must now surely pass to the formere president of the United States.

It’s a matter of record that in his speeches, he used such words as “anecdotes” when he shoild have  said “antidotes” and “perpetuators” instead of “perpetrators.”  The Toronto Star recently listed 40  such glaring examples which suggest that the former president is a master at spooking the English language.

The honour of the regiment

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

(Canscene) — Brown fedora planted firmly on his head and wearing a dun-coloured raincoat, he  planted his huge feet in my office and demanded to inspect the men’s quarters.

It was in the early spring of 1944 and my outfit, the 63rd Anti-tank Regiment was billeted in and around Folkestone, Kent an area under Nazi shell fired from across the Channel. My battery was billeted in some of the houses in an abandoned residential area; those unoccupied  were under lock and key.

Our battery was out on a tedious three-day exercise and I had the good fortune of being left behind as caretaker of the properties.  I remember the delicious sense of privacy that was allowing me finally to go deep into Tolstoy’s War and Peace.  Until the detective arrived. (more…)

Getting familiar

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

Getting familiar
(Canscene) — The unusual circumstances under which Michael Ignatieff was appointed leader of the Liberal Party of Canada did little initially to boost his public image.

However, a newspaper headline conveniently contracted the new leader’s name to “Iggy” a sobriquet that may propel him into greater familiarity in public minds and s now being repeated everywhere.

Growth of the word — a triumph for literacy

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

(Canscene)–  Word On The Street Canada has appointed  Alex Moorshead as Executive Director, to succeed Colleen O’Neill.

“Colleen’s commitment to The Word On The Street Canada for the past eigh years has been one of keys to the success of festivals across Canada. We are pleased she’ll continue her involvement in a consulting capacity”, said Jamie Broadhurst, Vancouver board member and past president of The Word On The Street Canada which this year will celebrate on September 27th.


“With her success producing three festivals as Festival Director in Toronto, Alex Moorshead brings considerable talent and experience to the national organization”, said Ceta Ramkhalawansingh, chair of the national organization,

“In 2008, a record number of Canadians – 250,000 – attended The Word On The Street Festivals across Canada”, continued Ramkhalawansingh. Over 450 authors, illustrators, performers and workshops presenters participated in 400 programmed events in addition to 500 exhibits from publishers, booksellers and literacy organizations. (more…)

Quiz me on Quagga

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

quagga(Canscene) — Last month, if you’d have asked me what a quagga was, I’d have told you it was an African quadruped with its forefront striped like the zebra family to which it belongs and the remainder the colour of a horse.

I gleaned this information in the mid-20s when as a natural history buff I devoured all available kidlit on the animal kingdom.

However this misinformation had been around for around 50 years, since checking on the internet the other day, I learned the last of the quaggas had disappeared in the 1870s

Malign this Information Age if you feel like it, but then, ask yourself what you’d  do without it?

The last word

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

(Canscene) — There’s gotta be something better than this!

As a recent consignee to a rigorous low-sodium diet (target 1500 milligrams per day), I have become a constant seeker of foods that provide me with enjoyable meals.

I, like other “Losodes” in Canada  feel a victim of  corporate negligence in food retailing. One has to peer at food labels to determine the sodium content, often to find cryptic cross references which are difficult to work out on the spot.

I have a weight problem, too — piling on a few pounds to remedy a striking weight loss in recent years.

In the knowledge that hundreds of thousands of other Canadians may be in the same boat, I intend to start up a special page on low-sodium foods and where to obtain them.  For instance, the internet tells me that the Heinz company in the United States have a no sodium ketchup on the market  and I queried Heinz Canada here but  Heinz Canada responded to my inquiry with a flat “no,” giving no reason wny.

It seems to me that Canadian losodes are considered second class North American citizens when corporations like to brag about our integrated economies.

What we need is an exchange of information.  Perhaps there are Canadian retailers that carry lines of low and no-sodium packaged goods like certain Health Smart canned soups, which would make a welcome change from  the endlessly monotonous reduced sodium beef and chicken broths.

The Low sodium page will refuse to carry magical nostrums or crank advice or in any other way to promote information that the medical profession would not approve.  It is merely a non-profit exchange of information that will help us determine where to find low sodium ingredients for our meals and also to publish medically valid recipes.

If you’re interested, please visit