Olympic labour camp race
congratulations, china! to reiterate that there are no hard feelings, I have come up with a few Olympic events of my own that celebrate China's long-standing dedication to human rights and freedom of speech.
How about a "labour camp race"? It could be called something like "the person who can make a pair of Nikes in under five minutes" race. All labour camp employees could be involved. Heck, let's not leave anyone out of the Olympic spirit, as we can easily categorize the teams -- the under-nine-year-old employee category, the nine-to-14- year-old employee category and those ready to retire at 15 to 20 years old.
Or how about the "race of the Tibetan monks" -- six Tibetan monks running from six Chinese soldiers, and whoever reaches the finish line first gets to live. The others, of course, get treated to the Chinese government's hospitality.
Caroline Davina Best, Toronto
Blame that Bitove, not Mel
here we go again! make you know-who the scapegoat for our losing the Olympic Games. No focus on that Bitove, who probably engineered the "tape presentation." He really skinned all the trusting sports fans alive at Skydome events by overcharging for food and drink when he and his gang were in control of things.
Then the Bitoves almost sink the Guild Inn with their unconscionable "pricings" and even stiff the municipalities from getting their due taxes.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see through the Bitoves' tactics as they salivate in anticipation of huge profits -- overcharging for trinkets, T-shirts (made in Haiti, probably), hotel rooms, food and drink. Ad nauseum!
Al Weinberg, Toronto
No, blame the activists
if anybody should be held responsible for Toronto's not getting the 2008 Olympics and the resulting loss of jobs and money, the blame rests primarily on the shoulders of two people and the groups they founded.
Michael Shapcott created Bread Not Circuses and has been opposing the Toronto bids for many years, recently joined by Cathy Crowe and her Toronto Disaster Relief Committee, despite the desperately needed housing the Olympics would have created.
Shapcott, by coincidence, is also involved with the Toronto Disaster Relief Committee.
When will these two stop claiming they represent the poor of Toronto while opposing things that would benefit the poor?
Robert De Bartolo, Toronto
Making violence seem OK
by saying that john clarke's charges "are only... mischief" (NOW, July 5-11), are you condoning a staged temper tantrum in a public office that works for all citizens, not just those who side with OCAP?
Because our politicians are supposed to represent us (and I am as skeptical as anyone about their motives), this does not mean they must be ever-prepared to be ransacked. What may not seem like terrorism to some would scare me more than a little. If my home or workplace were broken into and ransacked, I would feel threatened, even more so if it had a political "point."
I realize NOW was commenting more on the use of law than on John Clarke's moral fibre (?) but I think there must be better examples. He who makes the most noise is likely trying to drown the sound of well-founded arguments against him. John Clarke is a politician as crafty as those he attacks, in all his various manners. Look in his eyes and you can see the demon waiting to be exorcised.
Lucy Rupert, Toronto
Slavery payback a bad idea
i am responding to the article about compensating blacks (NOW, July 12-18). I am a descendant of American slaves who settled in the Essex and Kent County areas in the early 1800s, and I was born and raised in Windsor, an area mentioned in the article.
I am completely opposed to any monetary compensation to any contemporary residents living in Canada. My primary reason is that you cannot compare today's society -- with its emphasis on equal rights for all and the expanse of information that I believe has contributed to defining those rights -- with the type of society that existed in the 1800s in Canada.
If anyone should be compensated, it should be the people from that era, but, of course, that's impossible. I think it would be absurd for a government to give money to a contemporary group of people because of the actions of our ancestors a hundred years ago.
All we can do is inform people, remember what happened in the past and try to maintain a sense of fairness in society.
Blaine Andrew White, Toronto
The modest Jack Lemmon
thank you for ingrid randoja's reprise of the wonderful Jack Lemmon's career (NOW, July 5-11). Like all truly great people, he was -- like Mordecai Richler -- quietly charitable and compassionate. For them, genuine modesty was no game. It was who they were.
One of my favourite films is The Apartment. Lemmon's brilliant portrayal of "schnook" C.C. Baxter, who could have been plunked down in the 1990s with his dogged, stepped-on, sycophantic ambition, is as good a portrayal of selfishness as you could find anywhere. When Baxter finally and convincingly grows up and sees what he's become, then calmly acts on the insight, you feel satisfied that he's in the right place.
Geoff Rytell, Toronto
In defence of Tool show
was lauren kirshner really at Molson Park when Tool (NOW, July 5-11) took to the stage? I kinda doubt it. Maybe a friend told her about the show, but judging by her review, I think her friend spent the entire day in the beer tent.
The NOW critic rated the show NNN. The review she gave was weak, confusing, boring and above all inaccurate.
Her first gripe was that Maynard Keenan wasn't visible. He was standing in front of a massive video screen atop a riser that elevated him and multi-limbed drummer Danny Carey at least 5 feet above the main stage.
As for the music, the band opened fittingly with The Grudge. This is where Kirshner really begins to spin out, claiming that the new material didn't have the same "morbidly anthemic" qualities as the band's early material.
Kirshner should actually pick up a copy of Lateralus. Tool are still dedicated to producing quality material that finds beauty in darkness, and continues to raise the bar for a genre of music that they created.
By the way, the band did not play H.
Jason Kift, Willowdale
Keep quiet about parties
please tell benjamin boles not to kill the underground scene in Toronto by writing about parties that aren't in nice, safe, legally sanctioned venues. Part of what makes Cherry Beach parties (NOW, July 12-18) and the handful of other "illegal" parties that happen around town so enjoyable is that they are generally free from the capitalist harassment we like to call "police" or "security" (until they get busted, of course!).
Grassroots parties are at the heart of the dancing community in Toronto, so unless you like the humiliation of being frisked -- or can afford the indignity of a $5 bottle of water -- please keep the underground where it belongs, or we're not going to have anything fun to do this weekend.
Jeanette, aka violet edwards, Toronto
Living truth about Dead
zack medicoff writes (now, july 5-11), "His Fearless Flying Frog Brigade is 90 minutes away from playing with former Grateful Dead guitarist and present-day Rat Dog frontman Phil Lesh."
Any research done on this assignment would have unearthed the fact that Phil Lesh was the bass player for the Grateful Dead. Also, he has never been in or played with Rat Dog. The rhythm guitarist for the Grateful Dead was Bob Weir, who happens to have a band now called Rat Dog. Les Claypool's Frog Brigade is not opening for Bob Weir or Rat Dog this summer. He is, in fact, opening for Phil Lesh and friends for a couple of nights on Phil's summer tour.
It's amazing how easily NOW can screw up facts when it's not just another DJ they have to research. Long live real music!
Aaron Dietrich, Milton
Bell's 14-per-cent bill hike
according to the flyer attached to Bell's most recent invoice to its customers, all "pulse" lines will be converted to touch-tone as of August 2001, whether the users want it or not.
This entails an increase in the basic rate for a residential line, currently set at $20.06 a month, to $22.86. Of course, this 14-per-cent hike will only apply to those who have so far declined to convert to the more expensive system -- the very people who can ill afford an increase of $38.29 per annum after taxes.
In spite of what Bell would have us believe, this won't be the breakthrough that finally lets all customers access automated services; most phones are already equipped with a switch that enables pulse-line users to emit touch-tone signals when they chance upon a recorded menu. Nor will they suddenly benefit from pay-per-use options like *66 or *69, since they've always been able to dial 1166 and 1169 to get the exact same results.
True, the conversion might allow the phone company to get rid of outdated equipment and save a bundle in the process. But if that is the case, why should customers be charged at all -- especially when they're told that the phones themselves won't even need to be replaced?
Bell may act as if this is a done deal, but the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission has yet to approve the plan, and concerned citizens are invited to chime in. If you want to be heard, write to Comments on Request 6592, CRTC, Ottawa K1A 0N2; or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for all submissions is July 23.
Charles Montpetit, Montreal