Archive for January, 2009

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


Ben Viccari’s Canscene, Volume 9 Number 1, January, 2009

Friday, January 2nd, 2009


This a FREE information service which you may republish at will with credit to Canscene. In the case of articles with other authors’ bylines, please contact me  and I’ll direct you to the source of permission for reprinting. We do not necessarily subscribe to the opinions of others as expessed in  these pages.

These  interesting times

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

(Canscene) — As 2009 approaches I still find this the most challenging of all times in which to sermonize, speculate, predict.

What is believed by some to be an ancient Chinese curse, but never authenticated: “May you live in interesting times”  most certainly defines the year ahead.

More like horrific than “interesting” times as we mark a massive acceleratiion of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Plus depressing news from other zones of conflict.

January 1, as a universally accepted way of marking time is not, we know, the time for all heritage celebrations. But with these greetings, we honour all with what we hope and pray will see a beginning of progress toward a world in which peace and not violence,  sustenance  and not starvation and respect for the rights of all men, women and children to share this space called Earth.


Words we can do without

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

(Canscene) — How often I’ve jested about the man I most despise’s inability to pronounce “nuclear’” correctly. And Dubya is still doing it.

Now, I blush as I hear a man I admire, Ontario Minister of Economic Development Michael Bryant come out over the air with “nu-cal-ar.”  Please Mr. Bryant!

And,  please fellow journalists; can we soft-pedal on 2008’s most overused words, “iconic” and “famously.”

And to all: it’s FEBRUARY not “FEBYOUARY.” !!!!!!!!!!!


Things we’d like to see change

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

(Canscene) – First, may the Canadian Tories, Liberals and NDPers and — down south,  the Republicans and Democrats, get off the bitter and wasteful bandwagons of revenge politics and turn their thoughts to true patriotism.

May the media stop making headline news of every possible negative incident.

May our own Canadian youth become inspired to understand and participate in the politics of the nation. And may whoever is Prime Minister in 2009 make this a key target.

May good Queen Elizabeth’s hat designer create headgear that doesn’t make her look as though she’s wearing an inverted plant pot.

May some enterprising midway operator feature a three shoes for five dollar chance to hit the effigy of George W.Bush, giving us a chance for fun as well as trying to laugh at why this lame duck, lame-brain insists on going a-meddling abroad. (prize: a Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld or Condoleeza Rice plush doll) 

And please, CTV anchor Sandy Rinaldo honour your gracious countenance with a  hairdo that does  it justice — not those frumpy,  lank locks that you wear.

A quick pink slip to the person(s) responsible for the constantly erroneous listings in the Toronto Star weekly TV guide!


Canada “envronmental pariah’ says newsletter

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

(Canscene) — The following is excerpted from the Gallon Environmental Newsletter for December:

At the recent UN global climate change discussions in Poland, Canada received the “Fossil of the Day” award more often than any other country. In the eleven years since the Kyoto Protocol was negotiated, Canada has gone from global environmental leader to global environmental pariah. Even our previous friends in the circle of Kyoto denyers, the US and Australia, have left us behind as they now move to seek out constructive solutions to the global warming challenge. Canada is risking a major global boycott of our goods and services because of our decisions to depend on dinosaurs for both fuel and governance.

The environmental outlook for the private sector is somewhat more positive. A greater number of companies are publishing environmental performance reports. Environment, led by energy, is playing a greater role in the marketplace than ever before. Companies that ignore the public’s interest in improved environmental performance are beginning to experience the costs of their folly. We expect that more will do so in the future.


Ilya’s triumph: Liberty Kid

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

(Canscene) –  For me, few films have been genuine experiences that have washed away the environment in which I’ve viewed them  and brought me into  another time, another milieu.

Now comes Ilya Chaiken’s Liberty Kid, newly available on DVD after a laborious but triumphant journey since its completion. Turned down by Sundance and Toronto festivals, Liberty Kid, through the persistence of its makers led by Ilya Chaiken whose first film in 2002 didn’t cause a great stir but whose Liberty Kid has had a tremendous impact on those who’ve seen it has placed Chaiken among the front rank of contemporary auteurs.

Childhood friends Derrick (Al Thompson) and Tico (Kareem Savinon) operate a concession stand at the foot of the Statue Liberty. Theirs is a relationship that sees much bickering and scheming, but at its base is rock solid. (more…)

Tired of all that saccherine?

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

(Canscene) — Now that a new year is upon us, it’s time to forget all those feel gooders that have been thrust down our teletubes at us.

May those of us looking for good, sensitive DVDs for our home entertainment remember these:  Stanley Kubrick’s ’ Paths of Glory, George Clooney’s Good Night and Good Luck, Edward Zwick’s Blood Diamond and Peter Raymont’s Shake Hands With the Devil.  Great movies that define some of humankind’s moral dilemmas and persons of courage who faced up to them. (more…)

Is Steve shafting John Tory?

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

(Canscene) –It was generally assumed that among the 18 senators to be named by the Prime Minister, MPP  Bob Runciman would be included.  This in turn would have paved the way for Ontario Progressive Conservative leader John Tory to have a seat in the provincial legislature.

Instead no Ontario Tory MP was nominated, again leaving John Tory out in the cold.

Harper’s intent seems clear; he’d like to see a hard liner at Queen’s Park — instead of Red Tory John!

The last word

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

We wish a great beginning to Barack Obama and yes, we Canadians can too! If whoever eventually becomes our PM for 2009 makes up his mind.