Archive for August, 2009

Are some unions digging own graves?

Saturday, August 1st, 2009

(Canscene) — The civic workers’ strikes in Windsor and Toronto have  met with  severe condemnations by citizens, according to polls taken during the strikes.

It may be safely assumed that some of these critics are themselves members of unions other than those representing the strikers.

In the interest of the residents of Ontario and visitors to the province the motives of the union leaders of the civic employee strikes can only be considered unpatriotic,  anti-social and even subversive to democracy.
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Madeline Ziniak: “the major driving force.”

Saturday, August 1st, 2009

mziniak(Canscene) –As a Member of the Order of Canada (CM.) – a designation which recognizes a lifetime of distinguished service in or to a particular community, group or field of activity — Madeline Ziniak, national vice president of OMNI Television is cited for “her contributions as the major driving force behind the development and growth of multilingual and multicultural television in Canada.”

Madeline, already a member of the Order of Ontario is also executive chair of the Canadian Ethnic Media Association (CEMA) More »

Tautology 101

Saturday, August 1st, 2009

(Canscene) — I wanted to verify that the Holiday Inn at 370 King St. W. in Toronto had been taken over by Hilton Hotels. Here’s how, in its blog,  Hilton informs us of the changeover (Italics mine):

“Lately, the King Street giant has received a massive ugh! rejuvenation and revamp, as well as a re-branding ugh!. Now re-branded (again?) at ( as?) the Hyatt Regency, it sports a new look…

“Now much more modern ugh! the renovation spans all 394 guest rooms. Along with the still-sweeping views, the re-imagined ugh! rooms feature new beds and state-of-the art technology (i.e. plasma televisions, high-speed internet access, etc.) and on and on and on…
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Whatever became of Lew Archer?

Saturday, August 1st, 2009

ross-macdonald(Canscene) — Books by the late California-born, Ontario- educated Kenneth Millar writing under the name Ross Macdonald, have long been ranked along with those of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler as one of the three pillars of private eye literature.

Of late, the chronicles of the Southern California private eye seem to have faded in the eyes of the intelligentsia of the detective novel, at least north of the border.

Outnumbering the output of Hammett and Chandler put together, Macdonald created the unforgettable Lew Archer in books like The Moving Target and The Goodbye Look. Archer was tenacious but sensitive and for an image the actor Paul Newman springs readily to mind as he plays Archer in both Harper (The Moving Target)  and The Drowning Pool. Newman’s own fixation with the letter “H” renamed Archer to Harper. The casting was controversial; many thought Newman was “too handsome.” More »

A historic 20th anniversary

Saturday, August 1st, 2009

(Canscene)– American Republicans love to attribute the fall of communism to the rhetoric of President Ronald Reagan, especially to his “evil empire” speech.

lech-walesaBut many of us recall a pivotal moment within this empire when in 1989 Lech Walesa and his Solidarity trade union movement at the Gdansk shipyard which had developed into a political party won a semi-free election that  led to a Solidarity-led coalition government with Walesa becoming president a year later.

There can be no doubt that with Gorbachev’s policy of glasnost within the Soviet Union having caught on, the Polish example must have been a highly influential example of the tide of freedom that swept eastern Europe and led to the tearing down of the Berlin Wall which began later that same year.
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TIFF opener will likely upset creationists

Saturday, August 1st, 2009

(Canscene) — The Toronto International Film Festival opening September 10 should be a timely visit to one of this century’s greatest controversies. It’s the world premiere of Creation, directed by Jon Amiel (The Core, Entrapment, The Man Who Knew Too Little).

Produced by Jeremy Thomas, the film tells the life story of Charles Darwin starring Paul Bettany as Darwin and Jennifer Connelly as his wife, Emma.

“The tension between faith and reason is prominent in contemporary culture and this intimate look at Darwin puts a human face on a man whose theory remains controversial to this day,” More »

Great Canadian inadequately honoured

Saturday, August 1st, 2009

janrubes(Canscene) — On June 29 last, the passing of an 89-year-old Canadian whose contributions to the art of music in this country were no less than great, was barely noted by media.

His name was Jan Rubes, a classically trained and already well-known opera singer who, fleeing from the Commmunist regime in his native Czechoslovakia arrived here in 1947 with what proved to be a gift to this country: his glorious basso voice plus great acting ability. More »

Vera Cruz: “rebranding” the Western

Saturday, August 1st, 2009

(Canscene) — Usually seeing the word  “rebranding” drives me to distraction, but it seems applicable when applied to a ground breaking Western: the 1954 film Vera Cruz starring Gary Cooper and Burt Lancaster which appeared two years after Cooper’s High Noon.

veracruzI can’t remember hearing or reading anything about Vera Cruz except that, years later, I read Francois Truffault’s praise of the film and through TCM placed it on my PVR list.

While a skillful blending of suspense and characterization, High Noon  was a conventional Western with a shoot-out finale emphasizing the necessity for civic solidarity in the face of inconvenient but all-too-real menace. Praiseworthy but nothing really new.
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Suparna Ghosh: poet, painter, journalist

Saturday, August 1st, 2009

suparna-ghosh(Canscene) — To me, the ideal way to appreciate poetry is to hear in the poet’s own words, the spoken text. Providing of course that the poet has the gift of conveying the full import of his/her expression of feelings.

Dots and Crosses, published in 2006, is a long poem by Suparna Ghosh who is also an accomplished  artist and whose arresting images acompany the poems in both this book and a previous volume, Sandalwood Thoughts. As a journalist she is webmaster of the Suprana Ghosh site, about which more in our next issue.

Suparna , who has lived in Canada since 1974 was born in Allahabad, India to which her archeologist father had moved from Bangladesh.  The family moved to New Delhi where Suparna became a player in radio drama. She grew up speaking English and is fluent in Hindi and Bengali and also learned Urdu and Punjabi.

The true, gentle but firm expression of Suparna’s poetry comes in the CD she has made of Dots and Crosses, the story of Manu and his wife Manavi.  She breathes her passionate soul into the reading of such lines as

Under the canopy of blurs and shadows
and the restive tick of the clock
many years have died

This is the house of Manavi and Manu
And their grown and indifferent children
Tara and Tapas.

Excerpts from the poem can be heard on Suparna’s web site at /suparnaghosh.com/ and the CD can be ordered via the site or by writing to suparna@rogers.com; the cost is $10 plus shipping.  The books are also available at $15.00 each plus postage from the same sources.

In our next issue, we shall publish some material from the web site, including a searching take on the use and abuse of the word “Indian.”
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The last word

Saturday, August 1st, 2009

(Canscene) — from The End of Faith by Sam Harris.
For anyone with eyes to see there can be no doubt that religious faith remains a perpetual source of human conflict. Religion persuades otherwise intelligent men and women to not think, ot to think badly about questions of civilizational importance.

And yet it remains taboo to criticize religious faith in our society or to even observe that some religions are less compassionate and less tolerant than others. What is worst in us (outright delusion) has been elevated beyond the reach of criticism while what is best (reason and intellectual honesty)  must remain hidden for fear of giving offense…
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