Local Herald West End’s Community Paper
Volume 3, Issue 13, November 9, 2012
Canada’s real spaceman, Chris Hadfield,
preparing to make history
Story by Bram D. Eisenthal Cover photo courtesy Canadian Space Agency
TT H H EE
SEE P. 3
“I say YES when your bank says no!”
EDITORIALS Space, the final frontier, thanks to the brave few who push the envelope
B r a m E i s e n t h a l - Th e Lo c a l S e e ke r
So, yeah, the news regarding space has been exciting me something fierce of late. First, Space-X builds the first commercial space rocket and tests it successfully, then NASA puts a new and improved rover on Mars that is on the verge of shattering all our previouslyconceived notions of the Red Planet (and wouldn’t you just know that the Martians really are us?) and, now, a Canadian space station commander? Be still my pounding heart! I was 12 on July 20, 1969 when NASA’s Apollo 11 spacecraft landed the late Neil Armstrong and the still-living Buzz Aldrin on the Moon and I was glued to my family’s black and white TV set that entire period. Count me among the people who think conspiracy theorists are lunatics on this one. And three years earlier, a new TV show had me in its steely grip from its very first televised episode and I have been a Trekker ever since. But, truth be told, my love for all things space is likely due to the Tom Swift Jr. series of books I read as a kid – and which I still collect today. Tom Jr. was the son of a scientist and he himself spent his time creating various gadgets and battling aliens and killer robots… a lot like Jonny Quest did on that great 1960s televised cartoon. Tom Swift Jr. was MUCH more exciting to me than the Hardy Boys ever were. So, between all the science fiction and fact out there, it’s hard for a big kid like me to concentrate on anything else. And when I was granted my wish to interview Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield prior to his ascent to the International Space Station in December, when he will take over as commander, boy, was I jazzed! The interview, brief as it was, gave me a tiny glimpse into the excitement and pride Commander Hadfield feels as his countdown continues and as you read his story in our paper, you also share in that “tminus-and-counting” scenario. How exciting, huh? Note that the commander, who is 53, two years younger than me and a whole lot braver, also watched Star Trek as a child and was influenced by its then avant-garde brilliance as well. And so, including Mr. Shatner in the mix here is an homage of sorts. Welcome to outer space, good readers. We will also examine inner space, because what transpires on Earth is also exciting and newsworthy, as you will see. Let’s try to give Commander Hadfield some good reading material while he’s up there, okay?
unfortunate message communicated in our last issue. Both Father John Walsh and I acknowledge that insulting any religious group, no matter how unintentionally, is not what we are about. And in the process, we learn a whole lot more about the people who keep Planet Earth living – and spinning… at least until the third week in December, or so the Mayans tell us. Ah, what would Phineas Taylor think? You may have noticed an ad targeting advertisers in our last issue and that is totally by design, for I have fallen under the influence of the great 19th century showman, Phineas Taylor (P.T.) Barnum, since reading The Fabulous Showman: The Life and Times of P.T. Barnum, by Irving Wallace (Alfred A. Knopf, 1959). A more astute showman there has arguably never been and despite a reputation that was not always filled with kind remembrances by the media and the public following his passing in 1896, he certainly turned an entertainment-hungry era on its collective ear. P.T. also published a newspaper called Herald of Freedom, so it is with some semblance of homage that we run the ad again this issue and for many issues following this one. As for the line he is so often linked to, P.T. Barnum apparently never uttered the words “There’s a sucker born every minute,” but he did say so much more worth remembering, including his thoughts about the importance of advertising a business worth crowing about. Let’s think of the great showman the next time the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus rolls into town, shall we?
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Apologies to MSOPA Well, as happens now and again due to rushing to put this paper to bed, I goofed. This time, I referred to my friend Josa Maule’s excellent theatrical school as The Actor’s Studio, which certainly had some people, at least, scratching their heads. The Actor’s Studio is in New York and Californayay and Josa is founder and director of the MSOPA, which is the Montreal School of Performing Arts. So, my apologies again, Josa. Love you and your school… and say hi to James Lipton next time you see him, ok? Furthermore, more of the same… to the Pagancommunity You will read a tad more about a religion few of us know anything about than was originally planned, due to an
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The Local Herald, West End Montreal Edition Volume 3, Number 13, NOVEMBER 9, 2012
The Local Herald does not accept responsibility for errors, misprints or inaccuracies published within. The opinions and statements of our columnists are not to be presumed as the statements and opinions of The Local Herald.
Cover Stor y
Canada’s real spaceman, Chris Hadfield, preparing to make history (Story by Bram D. Eisenthal, photos courtesy of the Canadian Space Agency) I have always been a space child. Maybe it was the TV I was exposed to waaaaay back, when I’d watch shows like The Outer Limits in the early 1960s, the eerie light cast by the black and white TV set making the tales even scarier. Or maybe it was the sci-fi themed Tom Swift Jr. adventure books I hungrily gobbled up, when the other kids were reading Hardy Boys mysteries… if they were reading at all. More than likely it was the 1969 moon landing that indelibly made space my ultimate fascination. I was glued to that same TV set for an entire week, watching the drama unfold and I have never forgotten it, more than 40 years later.
So it is with no small bit of pride that I present to our readers The Space Issue of The Local Herald, brought to you some six weeks before a Canadian astronaut becomes the first individual from this country to command the International Space Station. Next month, Commander Chris Hadfield will grab that distinction as he takes a magic carpet ride on a Russian Soyuz aircraft to the ISS, where he will spend six months, rent-free, undertaking a variety of important scientific experiments and embarking on his third career space walk. With the help of the good media people at the Canadian Space Agency, headquartered in St. Hubert, Quebec, we are honoured to present a portion of the interview conducted with Commander Hadfield . Thanks to them, as well as to the commander.
Commander Hadfield called from Ottawa on September 25, just after being recognized in the House of Commons and receiving the Children’s Jubilee and Diamond Jubilee medals from the Governor General. “It’s been a great afternoon,” he said proudly, after our introduction.
I wanted to know, firstly, what inspired the 53 year old astronaut to make his career choice. “It sounds almost surreal and trite, but absolutely in truth, it was the day that the first two people walked on the Moon,” he replied. “I was nine years old, just one month short of 10, and they didn’t have a television where I was, at the cottage, so we went over to a neighbour’s place and everybody was crowded into their living room. I was sitting on the back of this battered old cottage couch with my older brother (now 55), up against a plaster wall, watching grainy footage on an old blackand-white television.
“We watched and listened to the first steps on the Moon, stayed up late, then went outside to look at the Moon. And even though I was only nine… I was thinking, that’s what I want to do when I grow up. And I did it (became an astronaut), though at the time it seemed almost impossible. But at the same time, what they had just done had been impossible up to that day, so….”
From that glorious day on, the young Chris Hadfield started doing everything possible to make his dream a reality. “I’ve gone into space twice and now I am going to have a chance to not only ‘live’ in space, but also to command a spaceship, so, yeah, it’s pretty amazing. It sounds surreal, but it’s my life.”
I also wanted to know whether he had been influenced by any of the TV shows of the day. There was a lot of sci-fi themed product on the tube back in the 1960s, including The Outer Limits, The Twilight Zone, Land of the Giants, The Time Tunnel, Lost in Space, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Invaders and, of course, the granddaddy of them all, Star Trek. “I remember seeing 2001: A Space Odyssey… I was a Star Trek fan, but I lived out on a farm and our TV was terrible. Star Trek - the original Star Trek, even though it was short-lived (three seasons) - was very motivational.”
The commander also had an opportunity to take a now-late legendary science fiction writer around his work haunts. “I read Arthur C. Clarke and I later had a chance to take him for a day around the Kennedy Space Centre and look up at a space shuttle with him, which was a real treat after having read his stuff as a kid.”
I am sure that, while he is a hero to many people, Commander Hadfield has his own bevy of heroes that he looks up to personally, so I asked him about that. “You know, I think about that,” he replied. “And there are many, though I don’t know of any who are heroes to me in the (traditional) sense of the word. Nobody is perfect and people make mistakes in their lives. But there is something to be learned from and something enviable in just about everyone that you meet. With everyone I talk to, I try to figure out what they know that I don’t know and what experiences they’ve had.
to perform while up there. “It’s a Larivee, made by that company based in Vancouver.” A YouTube video is available, featuring him visiting the factory that manufactured a guitar that has already “orbited the planet 60,000 times since 2001.” Take It from Day to Day, by Stan Rogers about life among a crew exploring the Canadian Arctic, is one song he will play prior to suiting up before the launch.
Finally, since most of us will likely never do this, what’s it like to walk in space, I asked the first Canadian male to do so? “You are thrust into a place your eyes can’t believe, in between the tumult of the Earth glowing right next to you and the endless, deep blackness of the universe just off to your left, with you holding onto your spaceship with one hand between those two things, it’s a magnificent way to see the world.”
Canada’s Chris Hadfield, NASA’s Kevin Ford and Tom Marshburn will join Russian cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy, Evgeny Tarelkin and Roman Romanenko as they take off for the ISS on Wednesday, December 19, 2012, from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. The launch vehicle will be Soyuz TMA-07M.
“If you look in Canada itself, there are some truly inspirational people, not just in the space program but in exploration with someone like David Thompson. Alexander Graham Bell and what his team of people did 100 years ago… that example of taking risks and doing something for the first time is inspirational. And I was inspired by the first Canadian astronauts, the fact that Marc Garneau and the class of ‘83 got hired and that door was opened. Specifically Marc, because by the time Roberta (Bondar) and Steve (MacLean) flew, I was already selected as an astronaut. “I watched Marc in the House of Commons today and he is 10 years older than me, but he was very much a direct role model and someone who has comported himself really well.”
What does Commander Hadfield recommend to young people interested in becoming the astronauts of the future? “I would recommend three things,” he stated. “One, keep your body in shape. That’s as easy as being careful with what you eat, take the stairs and lift things. The next is to get an advanced education in something that interests you… a deep and advanced education in something that is fundamentally interesting and challenging, something that is difficult for you. And the third is don’t just be a fit student, but seek everything else. Learn how to make decisions and take responsibility for things. Show that you can deal with the actual complexities of life and can make good calls.”
What brand of guitar is the astronaut bringing into space? His troubadour leanings are already established and it is already reported that he plans
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Of all the interesting and unusual interviews I have done, my visit with Betty Hill at her Portsmouth, New Hampshire home in the summer of 2003, the year before her death, proved to be number one. The story, published in The Globe and Mail along with my photo, which they used in their subsequent obit, is re-published here. Enjoy… no space issue would be complete without it!
Visit with UFO legend Betty Hill a universal experience by Bram D. Eisenthal
Quebec before moving on to their home state.
At 11 p.m. on September 19th, 1961, the Hills were on Route 3, south of Lancaster, N.H., when what is arguably the bestdocumented case in UFO history began with the sighting of a puzzling object in the sky. Barney thought it was a satellite or star initially, but its erratic movement brought a plane to mind. To Betty, it appeared to loom larger and brighter in their car’s windshield. They were alone on a deserted road and they were approaching the enormous silhouetted shape of Cannon Mountain, when they noticed the object heading straight for them.
Following some hair-raising moments recalled by the Hills only two years later, under hypnosis monitored by respected Boston psychiatrist Dr. Benjamin Simon, the Hills were stopped by a group of aliens on a side road, taken aboard their craft, experimented upon and released unharmed. Psychologically, however, their ordeal had just begun. Constant anxiety plagued the Hills. Nightmares were experienced by both of them. Barney developed chronic ulcers. And neither could account for a disturbing sense that something otherworldly had happened… and why two full hours that fateful night were still unaccounted for.
Renowned UFO abductee Betty Hill with a sculpture of Junior, one of the aliens she and husband Barney encountered in 1961 (Photo: Bram D. Eisenthal)
PORTSMOUTH, N.H: Betty Hill sat in her living room, an inquisitive, intelligent, highly engaging 84-year old woman. Surrounded by the mementos and clutter of a lifetime, she was quite serene when reflecting on the latter. She sports a petite frame, initially taking one by surprise, considering her role in one of the strangest and most publicized incidents of the 1960s. You’d think she would be more physically imposing.
You could say, in a way, that Betty and Barney Hill’s last meal of a sort – at least one consumed while their lives still had any sense of normality - was eaten in Montreal, one of their favorite cities. The Portsmouth, New Hampshire couple, already fairly unique because he was black, she was white, and it was the dawn of the racially explosive sixties, were returning from a short vacation in Niagara Falls and swung through
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While Barney died in 1969, Betty Hill has actively discussed the incident in the media and at conventions across North America ever since, although she officially retired from the speaking circuit 12 years ago. “They were under five feet tall,” Betty Hill recalled when asked about the aliens, that recent afternoon in her living room. “They look more like us, like actual people, than weirdos. The main difference is that their eyes are huge, and they have thin noses and thin lips The leader spoke English, rather than using telepathy, as they are often portrayed.”
Why were they abducted? “They grabbed us to see if we were similar to them,” Hill stated. “I can understand why they were interested in us physically. I don’t hold that against them, to this day.” Hill added that they (the aliens) were particularly interested in the tall, lanky Barney’s bone structure, while they performed a painful procedure on her similar to one that would only be done on Earth eight years later, an amniocentesis. They were also, she had reported during the psychological sessions, interested in the structure and colour of her skin.
Hill is still certain that something extraordinary happened to her and her husband 42 years ago, a view shared by Dr. Simon, who came to that conclusion following his sessions with the couple. His findings – and transcripts of the sessions – can be found in John G. Fuller’s book The Interrupted Journey: Two Lost Hours Aboard A Flying Saucer (1966, The Dial Press, New York). Their experience was also the subject of an excellent 1975 movie of the week, The UFO Incident, starring James Earl Jones as Barney and Estelle Parsons as Betty. “The movie was quite accurate and I thought the actors did a good job portraying us,” Hill said. “The producers had a big problem with their portrayals of the aliens, though. They really do look more like us.”
It’s easy to dismiss Betty and Barney Hill as a couple of crackpots at best or publicity hounds at worst and, certainly, for many of us, it’s understandable. This sort of extraterrestrial experience is so foreign, so Spielbergian, so much the stuff of science fiction and fantasy. Yet, if you had the occasion to meet the humble, affable Betty Hill, to experience her sharp wit and keen mind, your leanings might change. Stanton Friedman, the New Jersey-born nuclear physicist and lecturer who has been dubbed the Father of Roswell and now calls Fredericton, New Brunswick his home base, certainly offers compelling evidence regarding the veracity of the Hills’s story. Friedman knows Hill well, having worked and socialized with her, on UFO-related matters, countless times over the years. “First, the outstanding professional background of Dr. Simon, who kept a very tight reign on (author) John Fuller, certainly lent legitimacy. He was a world-class expert on the use of medical regressive hypnosis to help WW II veterans make their way through traumatic experiences. No one would call him a nut,” Friedman stated. “This was definitely a pioneering case (in the UFO field). The publicity about the case helped other abductees to have the courage to seek help in understanding their own missing time experiences. “Considering Betty’s background, I would say the skeptic is ignorant and biased and not worth listening to. She comes from an old New England family (the Dows, the same lineage as Dow Pharmaceuticals and Dow Jones, dating back to the 17th century), she was a supervisor in the Welfare Department of the State of New Hampshire, she has college degrees, and she has been well-known, respected and active in her community.” Friedman also evoked the memory of Barney Hill. “Remember that Barney was respected in his own right. He was on the Governor’s Civil Rights Commission. And remember that Dr. Simon’s work
unlocking the memory took care of Barney’s ulcer problem, when medication could not. They did not seek publicity, but were forced into the public arena when the Boston Herald article came out, without their knowledge. Add to that the fact there were physical marks on Betty’s dress, warts on Barney’s groin, and the extraordinary emotionalism of their sessions with Dr. Simon.
“There are, of course, many scenarios that a good science fiction writer could conjure up, but not any that seem as straightforward and simple as the one that shows them both being abducted.” It should be noted that the Hills were also administered lie detector tests by lawyer F. Lee Bailey, which they passed with flying colours. Hill also pointed out that the object which confronted them that evening was tracked by nearby Pease Airforce Base.
Of all the evidence supporting abduction, none is more compelling than Betty’s drawing of an unusual star chart, Dr. Simon’s posthypnotic suggestion that she later carried out. While on the craft, she asked the leader where his people came from and he showed her their solar system, on what appeared to be a hologram-like map. Betty’s subsequent chart illustrated something that made no sense at the time. Several years later, in 1968, the controversial work of a woman by the name of Marjorie Fish showed the existence of a unique pair of stars, named Zeta Reticuli 1 and 2. The chart of the system was strikingly similar to the one drawn by Hill. The ramifications are indeed stunning, even to casual observers.
“Remember that nobody doing what Ms. Fish did in 1968, back in 1961, could have correctly identified the pattern stars, since the correct distance data was not yet available. We have new data from the Hipparchos satellite that solidify Zeta 1 and Zeta 2 as a unique pair of stars.”
Were Betty and Barney Hill the victims of some sort of mass hysteria? Or were they indeed abducted for two hours by alien visitors from another solar system? One thing is certain, according to Hill. We are not alone…. and our leaders are quite aware of that, too. “I am totally convinced that our government leaders have known about these UFO contacts for decades,” she said. “I have proof of their landings,” she added, pulling out a large black and white photo showing something large, bright and cylindrical standing in a clearing of what she says is a forest. It’s hard to tell for sure, as the detail is not sharp…. but you never know. As for what her experience with these aliens has taught her, Hill’s response was frank and sounded a hopeful note. “They’ve proven to me that God is universal.”
Now 84, Betty Hill is engaging, intelligent, and totally convinced she and Barney had an extraterrestrial encounter in 196 1 (Photo: Bram Eisenthal)
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Th e F i c k l e F o o d i e -
J u s t i n We l k s
P h aya t h a i ( G u y S t )
I must come clean at the outset of this review. After my many visits to Thailand, Thai cuisine holds a very special place on my palate. It always evokes wonderful memories of the many meals I have enjoyed there, both in the city of Bangkok and in more rustic and traditional surroundings in the countryside. Unfortunately, as is the case with far too many ethnic restaurants in Montreal, the owners and chefs sadly feel they have to compromise their traditional recipes and flavours to assuage the less adventurous western palate. This is a shame. I am a devout purist when it comes to preparing ethnic dishes of any kind, whether it is an Indian or Thai Curry, a Malaysian Laksa or a Vietnamese Pho Bo. I will never fall prey to that “you can substitute this if you can’t find this” syndrome. We have so many ethnic neighbourhood grocery stores now in Montreal that all the required ingredients are readily available and can be easily sourced with just a little effort and a mildly adventurous spirit! I have dined at several Thai restaurants in the city, but have yet to find one that evokes the same exhilaration I experienced dining in Thailand...until now, that is!. Recently, I dropped into Phayathai on Guy St. for lunch and, boy, was I glad I did. My long search for traditional Thai cuisine may at last be over. Phayathai literally means “Lord of the Thais.” The Phaya Thai Palace was built in Bangkok in 1909 and served as a royal residence for many kings until it was fairly recently converted into a hospital.
dishes featuring poultry, beef, pork, seafood and vegetarian options. All main dishes include your choice of a Lemongrass Vegetable Soup or Imperial Rolls and Coffee or Tea, all at prices ranging from $12.95 to $15.95 for the complete meal.
in a wonderful slightly-sweet –and-creamy coconut curry sauce. All the flavours of garlic, galangal, kaffir lime, Thai basil and Thai chillies were present in each mouthful. As with all Thai dishes, it, too was accompanied by steamed jasmine rice to soak up all that wonderful sauce.
We both chose the Lemongrass Vegetable Soup to start. The flavours were sublime, fresh, fragrant and redolent of citrusy lemongrass, galangal and salty fish sauce. This bodysoothing broth was rounded out with just a hint of Thai chillies and sweet palm sugar. Very similar flavours to the national soup of Thailand, Tom Yum. The only complaint I had was that the vegetables needed to be cut into smaller pieces, as they proved a bit difficult to handle as served.
With our coffee and tea we were offered two complimentary flakey fried won tons drizzled with honey and sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds.
For my main course I chose the asterisked “three chilli” Sautéed Chicken with Holy Basil ($14.95). This immediately evoked those fond memories of Bangkok: The chicken slivers were tender and the accompanying julienned pieces of zucchini and sweet peppers maintained a crispness that blended wonderfully with the fish sauce, palm sugar, chicken stock and chillies, which added a lustrous glaze to the dish. It was garnished with the wilted leaves of liquorice-scented Thai holy basil and was accompanied with a tian of steamed jasmine rice and shredded raw carrot and cabbage. It was delicious and left a pleasant fiery glow on my palate for the rest of the afternoon. My companion chose the Thai Green Curry with Chicken ($14.95). As with most Thai curries, it included tender pieces of chicken bathed
Thai cuisine is, at its roots, a very simple one to master and depends greatly on the freshness of its ingredients and its subtle use of fresh herbs and spices. It is meant to be quickly prepared and served family style as soon as it is finished. At Phayathai we were warmly greeted and seated at a linenadorned table at the window by one of the two friendly and attentive waiters on duty. The lunch menu at Phayathai is comprised of a large selection of Thai
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I am elated to have finally found this oasis of Thai cuisine in Montreal, one that has firmly held to its traditional roots and has not felt it necessary to succumb to the frail and unadventurous palates of the uninitiated. I will definitely return to this piece of Thailand whenever I get homesick for all those wonderful South East Asian flavours. Our lunch, not including tip or taxes, came to $29.90
Phayathai 1235 Guy St Reservations 514 933-9949 Mon-Fri Noon - 2:30pm and 5:30pm – 10pm Sat and Sun 5pm – 10pm All credit cards and Interac accepted
Chef Cayenne with Chef Michael Minorgan
Chiang Mai... Rose of the north
Chiang Mai, founded in 12296 AD, is the hub of Northern Thailand, located among the rolling foothills of the Himalayan mountains. It is the home of some of the finest cuisines in Thailand and has many top notch cooking schools, where you can enjoy an exciting hands-on experience with many local chefs and tribal cooks exposing you to amazing Thai specialties and traditional cooking techniques.
Chiang Mai restaurants offer a tremendous variety and range of food, second only to Bangkok.
Visiting this historical walled city as often as I have, one appreciates its propensity for amazing food. One such Chiang Mai specialty immediately coming to mind is Khao Soi, its most famous dish, a mix of crispy yellow wheat noodles in a savoury curry broth traditionally served with chicken (kai).
As with the rest of Thailand, the street food available at roadside food stalls is not to be missed! It is Thai food at its most authentic and it can be enjoyed for about $2 a plate...what could be better!. One such place where this food can be found is the Warorot Market, a huge sprawling indoor market on the shores of the Ping River where all the locals shop. The plethora of foods, spices, teas and kitchenware is amazing and all items are available at very cheap prices... just remember the doctrine in all areas of Thaiiland: Bargain! They expect
Khao Soi This coconut milk based soupy curry is usually made with chicken or beef and served over Chinese egg noodles garnished with crispy fried noodles, pickled mustard greens, shallots, lime, sweet soy sauce and spicy chili oil. Ingredients: 18 oz. fresh Chinese egg noodles • 2 1/2 cups of cooking oil• 8 small chicken drumsticks (about 2.2 lbs total) • 2 cups coconut cream • 2 cups coconut milk • 1/2 cup water •1 Tblsp. palm sugar •1 Tblsp. white sugar •2 Tblsp. Thai soy sauce •2 Tblsp. fish sauce • Paste Ingredients: 1/2 tsp. curry powder •3-4 Tblsp. red curry paste • Additional Ingredients: Garnishing: Chopped coriander leaves and spring onions. Chili Oil: 3/4 cup oil, 1/2 cup dried ground red chili peppers. Accompaniments: pickled mustard greens, sliced shallots,cut limes and sweet soy sauce. Preparation: 1.Blend the paste Ingredients together and set aside. 2.Over medium high heat, put 1/2 cup of coconut cream into a wok and fry for 3-5 minutes, stirring continuously, until the coconut oil begins to separate out. Add the prepared paste and fry for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the chicken drumsticks, water,
it and it’s is a wonderful and friendly way to reach an agreement on a fair price. While you are there, don’t miss the neighbouring outdoor fresh flower market,with all its wonderful colours and scents.
Thai people have long been known for their preparation of appealing and healthy meals,with bold and exotic flavours that not only taste good but look fabulous, too, and they are more than happy to share their secrets in some of the very best cooking schools in Thailand. These schools offer half day, full day or even week-long courses for those with more time on their agendas. Prices will vary greatly depending on the location. Some are held in more upscale restaurants and others may be found in rustic,Thai hill tribal houses where you will all sit on the floor in the kitchen around an open fire (some of the best food I have had in Thailand has been in these surroundings, by the way). In every class you will enjoy the fruits of your labour at either lunch or dinner depending on when your class is scheduled. Before each class you will visit the local market with the chef to discuss and gather the ingredients for your cooking class. These places are a great way to show off your newly-acquired Thai cooking skills to your friends back home.
Of all the cities in Thailand, Chiang Mai and its surrounding countryside is probably one of the most picturesque locales in the entire Kingdom and its traditional northern cuisine some of the most delicious.
The cuisine in Thailand varies greatly from
remaining coconut cream and half the coconut milk. Bring to the boil, add palm sugar along the side of the wok until it melts, followed by the white sugar, soy sauce and fish sauce. Simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes or until chicken is tender. While simmering, if it becomes too dry, you may add more coconut milk or water.
region–to-region, but they all derive from one simple formula: Meat, seafood or vegetables in a sauce, served over rice. The four basic flavours of all Thai food are sweet, sour, creamy and salty with plenty of added spice.
The Thais’ love of condiments is also well known and the four most popular found on every table are: Nam Pla (fish sauce), spicy Prik Pon (crushed chilli peppers), palm sugar and a spicy vinegar with chopped chilli peppers. Chiang Mai cuisine reflects strong influences from neighbouring Burma and China, resulting in much milder curries than those found in the central plains surrounding Bangkok. In addition to Khao Soi, Chiang Mai’s signature dish, it is also well known for its very distinctive style of garlicinfused sausage that can be found roasting at almost every roadside food stall. Another Chiang Mai specialty is Gaeng Hang Lay, a dish made with pork, turmeric, tamarind and.... NO CHILIES!
When contemplating a trip to Chiang Mai we could all benefit from Mark Twain’s meanderings on the joys of all things food... There are people who strictly deprive themselves of each and every eatable, drinkable and smokeable item which has, in any way, acquired a shady reputation.They pay this price for health. And health is all they get for it. How strange it is. It is like paying out your whole fortune for a cow that has gone dry.
Chiang Mai is prominently featured on our upcoming 21-Day Culinary & Cultural Excursions to Thailand and Viet Nam in March 2013, personally organized and conducted by me for all the fabulous food lovers in this great city.
3.Meanwhile heat the oil for frying the egg noodles in a wok over medium heat and when it is at almost smoking point add 1/2 cup of egg noodles and fry until crispy and just lightly brown (30 seconds). Strain and set aside. 4.For the chili oil, heat the 3/4 cup oil in a small saucepan and when it is hot add the chilli powder. Stir together and immediately remove from the heat. Set aside to cool. 5.When you are ready to eat, lower the remaining fresh egg noodles into boiling water to cover, separating the strands of noodles as you add them. Boil for 2 minutes, then drain and portion into 4 individual serving dishes. Top with the chicken curry and serve garnished with the crispy egg noodles, coriander leaves and spring onions. 6.Serve along with the accompaniments, which are added to taste. Use only 1-2 drops of Sweet Soy Sauce per portion. Serves 4.
www.chefmichel-concepts.com www.culinaryculturaltours.ca Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.meetup.com/Chef-Michel-Concepts-GlobalCuisine-in-Montreal
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Whole Wheat Roll - Caryn Roll
What? Your car doubles as a diner?
Kids eating in the car. This has got to be the bane of my existence. I have three sons and I swear every day that there will not be food in my van. But somehow, food ends up in my van… every day! I feel like I am driving around in a garbage can. The question of whether or not kids should be eating in a vehicle is more of a parenting issue over a nutritional one. If you want your ride to stay clean, I urge you not to bring food into it. It doesn’t matter what food comes into my van, healthy or junky, half of it always ends up on the floor or smooched into the upholstery. I have tried bananas but I forget to remind the boys to dispose of the peel and I find it days later when it looks like nothing resembling a banana. We’ve tried water canteens, but that caused water to saturate the mud mats with tissue paper stuck to it. Rice crackers are a favourite crunchy snack in this house, but when it comes into the van we get little finger marks on the back of the seats. Apparently, this is how kids wipe their hands. Who knew? Birthday parties have lead to popcorn, chocolate and chips scattered hither-dither all over the back of my mommy bus. I never had a chance.
If you have a strong character, I urge you to just keep food out of the car. I am one of those moms who worry that food eaten in a moving vehicle could be a choking hazard.
Sadly if you are like me, you let them eat food in the car so there will be some peace and quiet! Truthfully, this is a bad parenting and a bad nutritional move. Letting kids eat in the car could result in mindless eating. There is no reason to eat in the car. It creates a habit that driving equals eating. We should eat for hunger not for boredom. That being said, I swear that peace and quiet is worth all the gold in the world.
Caryn J. Roll P.Dt. (514.817.0135) Twitter: @MTRLnutrition Join me on Facebook www.montrealnutrition.com
pg. 8 - NOVEMBER 9, 2012 - localheraldmontreal.com
Spiritual Seedlings - Father John Walsh
SPIRITUALITY Space travel earthbound to teach us about life The world journeys into space once more with a Canadian, Chris Hadfield, as commander. As he and his crew are poised to touch off, we have yet to cull all the lessons space travel has provided us to create a better world in which to live. There is no greater lesson than to realize the magnitude of our universe and those by which we are surrounded. Not that many years ago, a journey into space was science fiction. Now, our horizons have been stretched to allow us to again use our imaginations. If there is life beyond our universe we can only imagine what kind of life is sustainable. The lesson: To imagine in our wildest dreams how we can build better lives on Earth and make them sustainable. I can imagine a world of peace, which is a brotherhood and sisterhood of all human beings and where the word war is removed from our dictionaries. I can imagine a world where pollution has been managed and eventually eradicated, where air and water no longer threaten the loss of lives, but offer the assurance that what we breathe offers a “high” beyond the use of any addictive substances and that water is not to be sold as a commodity but to be respected as essential to life. I can imagine that poverty is eliminated, where people throughout the world will have the time (until then, life is spent merely surviving) to make new and perhaps startling contributions to our intellectual and spiritual lives. I can imagine a county like Canada welcoming peoples who are of a different languages, cultures and religions, and developing a serious dialogue that can open the floodgates of new and exciting worldviews, which can then transform pettiness into greatness. I can imagine every person discovering the incredible privilege some of us have in
exercising our full freedoms of speech and action and bringing true freedom to all peoples wherever they are on the planet Earth. Elizabeth Kübler-Ross learned from the dying incredible lessons for the living. Our space travel is the fountain of lessons for life on Earth. To date, eight Canadian- trained astronauts have flown in space, all on Space Shuttle missions. Can you name them? They are Marc Garneau, Roberta Lynn Bondar, Steven Glenwood MacLean, Chris Austin Hadfield, Robert Brent Thirsk, Bjarni Vladimar Trygvasson, Daffyd Rhys “Dave” Williams, Julie Payette, as well as one space tourist, Guy Laliberté (founder of Cirque de Soleil). The best estimate is that Canadians have been in space for 146 days 02 hours 34 minutes. These women and men have opened our eyes to what we thought was unimaginable and how we can imagine far beyond what we know. Now I can actually imagine myself sitting down for the rest of the day in a very comfortable chair, imagining how we might travel into another space, the open space of our imaginations and learn how significant our lives on Earth are. St. Ignatius of Loyola, centuries ago, said that the use of our imaginations is our best way to understand God.
FINANCE & REAL ESTATE
Self-employed – To your advantage or not? In my large network and circle of friends, I know people who aresalaried as well as some who are self-employed. There are positivesand negatives to both so I will discuss how each affects your familylife and also your ability to get financing. Let's face it....finding a job in today's economy is extremely toughand competitive. Many graduates are leaving university with greatgrades and promise, only to be disappointed by little opportunityand/or little pay. Should you be employed, there is a risk that youget replaced by someone who will work for less, or worse, a computerprogram. In terms financing though, banks prefer salaried people overself-employed people. They see you as less likely to default onyour mortgage, since you receive a consistent paycheque every twoweeks. In terms of family life, it gives you the peace of mind thatyou can budget your expenses. On the
other hand, it gives you littleflexibility when it comes to family time. You have your weekends free,but if you want to take a Friday off because your son is sick, youdon't have that same flexibility. As tough as it is to find a job in today's economy, starting your ownbusiness isn't much easier. It usually takes a strong financialinvestment to start up. If you go into a field like real estate, youusually need money to survive at the beginning. It takes time to growyour client base and, while you pound the pavement to get yourcommissions, you need savings to be able to feed your family. Life canbe stressful on a family waiting months for a commission cheque, sounless your partner is salaried and bringing in good money, it can betough. On a positive note, you can deduct expenses like your gas,phone, Internet etc., which in turn can lower your net income, thuslowering the taxes you have to pay the government. These expenses mustbe legitimate, but this is a huge advantage. Another advantage is that youare paying yourself first. If you make a real estate commission inJanuary 2012, you only have to
pay taxes to the government in mid-2013. If you are salaried and you get a $3,000 paycheque, you willhave about 50% deducted from that paycheque at source right away. Youhave to budget for income taxes, true, but think about the advantage ofholding on to your money for an extra year and a half. Unfortunately,banks have tightened their rules for mortgage financing forself-employed individuals. These applicants pay higher insurancepremiums for their mortgages and their self-declared income is highlyscrutinized. In most cases, you also have to be selfemployed for twoyears. My specialty is mortgages for self-employed individuals, so if youhave any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.
Jason Zuckerman www.mortgageratesmontreal.com Hypotheca Mortgage Brokers (514) 771-1352 /1-800- 206-1350 email@example.com
localheraldmontreal.com - NOVEMBER 9, 2012 - pg. 9
To the members of the Pagan community
In last month’s Halloween Issue, I stressed what a fun holiday it was for me and actually promised in my editorial column, The Local Seeker, that I would stay away from sex and religion as central topics in the future. So it is with no small amount of regret that I stand before you, admitting that I did not follow this lead.
When Father John Walsh, one of my most valued and widelyrespected columnists, wrote his piece on Halloween’s need to be rid of its Pagan roots, I had no idea what can of worms this would
open. I admit I am extremely naïve when it comes to Paganism or any of its levels, including Wicca. And it appears that this naiveté manifested itself in my receipt of a dozen or so extremely angry and disappointed messages from Pagans locally, as well as many more from individuals far and wide.
While I do stress that Father John’s comments are entirely his own and not shared by me or this paper as an entity, I also feel I owe an apology to anyone who feels slighted or insulted by the column in question. A few of the commentaries I received made a very valid point: If the word Jewish, Muslim or Black had been
The Local Herald has never featured a regular letters page to date, mainly because we can count the number of letters we have received on the fingers of one hand. But this last issue, in response to Father John’s column regarding Halloween and Paganism, broke the mold. This issue we will run just a few of the many letters received by e-mail, on Facebook and via thelocalseeker.com. We are sorry we cannot run them all, but there really is limited space. This is in no way meant to be a commentary on the importance of any one letter over the others and we thank you for your comments. If we receive enough mail in the future, perhaps this will become a regular feature of our paper.
Religious intolerance in The Local Herald
This letter is in regards to the article published by Father John Walsh in the Halloween issue, regarding Paganism. I realize that Mr. Walsh is writing from his own Christian perspective, but I would suggest that when he is speaking of religion, he focuses on his own spirituality rather than smearing and denigrating others, of which he has very little knowledge.Speaking as a Pagan myself, I wish to address some of the untruths that Mr. Walsh felt he could list with such authority.1. Witches do not worship Satan. Satan and Satanism are solely Christian concepts and have no place and no equivalence in pagan belief. Stating that witches worship Satan is like saying atheists believe in God.2. Diana is not the sole Goddess of Wicca and pets of Witches are not demonic, nor are the pets inhabited by evil spirits. Pagans have many Gods and Goddesses to choose from, but Diana does not hold sole market share over Wicca.3. Paganism was not created to instil irrational fear in people. The irrational fear of Paganism comes from narrow-minded propaganda (like this article) which encourages people to fear and shun what is unfamiliar by distorting the truth. Paganism is a nature-based polytheistic spirituality that celebrates balance in all things. It does not focus on darkness as you suggest: rather it acknowledges balance in all aspects of this life -light and dark, day and night, creation and destruction. 4. "Fire was the best weapon against evil spirits and Witchcraft was punished by burning “at the stake." Every day, there are hundreds of people who are killed because they are branded as being different, for not conforming to the norm, for being labelled as "the enemy." I find this sentence especially troubling since, not only does it associate witchcraft with evil, but it also suggests the solution.I'm also disappointed that the Local Herald would publish an article that celebrates
substituted for Pagan, would this paper have run the column? I admit that I would have not done so and that really caused me to reflect deeply on how adherents to Paganism felt as they were reading.
Now, I know Father John to be a caring and informed individual who is, I say again, highly respected by people of many religions. And I am not going to condemn his viewpoints, because I really know nothing about Paganism, just as I know almost nothing about being a Jehovah’s Witness or Scientology, which is certainly a religion, as well, to its followers. There is no one on this plane of existence, as far as I am concerned, who can
such religious intolerance and hatred. I know that it states at the front of the paper that the opinions and statements made by the columnists do not represent the paper itself, but you chose to print this article that gleefully paints Pagans and Witches as evil and something to be feared. For that choice, you must bear some responsibility for spreading this kind of hate.
Do we live in an age where established media feel that it's okay to spread lies such as “Jews eat Christian children” and “all Muslims are terrorists”? Of course not - and yet Mr. Walsh used his forum to plant the seeds of hatred with a spirituality that he clearly knows nothing about, aside from his own selective perspective. Not very Christian of you, Mr. Walsh. Not very responsible to your readers, Local Herald.
Post comment: While the article enraged the Pagan community, both locally and abroad, within hours of contacting Mr. Eisenthal, I received a response that included an apology and a willingness to make amends. My initial outrage has led to seeing this as an opportunity to educate and build bridges.
- JD Hickey
ED. NOTE: Agreed. And we address the issue from our perspective following the Letters page.
We are more than that and nothing like that Dear Sir,
I recently came across your newspaper through Facebook and wasdirected to read the article about leaving paganism out of Halloween.As a pagan of the Asatru path I was curious and read the article. Tobe very honest I was rather insulted and found myself questioning whyany newspaper would allow such hate speech to be printed in theirpages. The article vilified Wiccans and pagans in general asSatanists, which we are not as we do not believe in the ChristianSatan. As for the concept of paganism breeding fear, I find this mostupsetting, as I was raised a Christian and found that paganism bycontrast has only nurtured the concepts of friendship and openness. I found this article insulting and almost pure hate speech. Furthermore,the idea of leaving paganism out of Halloween is absurd on its own andinsulting as this is a holy day to most pagans, regardless of path. Iwant to say that's like calling Christians to leave Christianity out of someholiday, but off hand every holiday I can think
pg. 10 - NOVEMBER 9, 2012 - localheraldmontreal.com
decide what is religion and what is not, although they can certainly make that decision for themselves. The Raelians? If hundreds of people want to follow Jean-Claude Vorhillon (as Rael) and his teachings, that’s for them to decide.
What I AM also doing, however, is running both a clarification from Father John, as well as a rebuttal from the Pagan community, as I feel this is the fair thing to do. But it’s also because I think we should hear the views of people from other groups. It’s good for us to learn as we live, isn’t it?
Bram Eisenthal Publisher and Editor The Local Herald, Montreal
of that’s celebrated byChristians is based in a pagan tradition. I understand there are people out there that believe these things. Irealize this is not a perfect world. I know that these people willspout lies and drivel, especially when it comes to religion. I accept that paganism is a minority religion and has been attacked byChristianity since they first encountered one another and that somepriests harbour those same feelings today. But I cannot believe that anewspaper of any quality that is not a church’s newsletter wouldallow the printing of such obvious hate speech toward any group. I truly hope you do not share this priest’s views that paganism isevil, that we worship your Satan. That we only wish to breed fear. Weare very different from this and I suggest your getting to know anynumber of groups in a number of areas. We are in quite a few places andI’m sure you could find a group willing to speak to you and show we aremore than that and, in fact, nothing like that. Have a good day, sir. - Matthew Gulliver
Understanding is at the centre of mutual respect
Hello. I am a Pagan. I am not writing this letter to tell you what Paganism is. There are probably as many answers as there are Pagans (if you would like to know my response, you can ask your editor for my email address). I am writing this letter to tell you how happy I am that the Halloween column situation has resolved itself.
There was no drama, no name-calling, just a respectful email from your editor and an apology from Father Walsh, both of which I did not await with any prior expectations but for which I am grateful. I am happy, most of all, that a bridge has been thrown between our communities. I am happy that you were willing to listen to our view of the world, to read more about us who are Pagans. There need to be more respectful approaches like this in general, more curiosity about each other, more willingness to learn about what others cherish. The modern world is a mosaic of many cultures and many faiths. We all have to live with one another. If resolving issues between two faiths/communities were always as simple as it proved to be here, the world would be a better place. I send you all my love,
- Morrigane Feu (Roselyne Caron)
Paganism: A rebuttal
Clarification from Father John Walsh
by Greg Currie
In the NOVEMBER 9, 2012 edition of The Local Herald, Father JohnWalsh wrote an article that was received by the Pagan community asbeing misinformed, hateful and propagating of harmful stereotypes.
Pagans, witches and Wiccans are neither evil nor Satanists. Satan isa figure of JudaeoChristianity, not of paganism. Pagan culture doesnot “instil fear.” Our beliefs do not threaten an otherworldly hellnor believe that otherworldly demons tempt our daily actions, ratherthey celebrate nature, the cycle of life and the Divine. Pagans arenot “shallow” in their beliefs; like members of any culture orreligion, we hold our beliefs as sacred and meaningful as any otherspiritual person would. Samhain is not the “lord of death,” it isGaelic for the month of November and historically was a festivalcelebrating the end of summer and the harvest. A Pagan is absolutely not a godless person or a devil worshiper. APagan is a person whose spiritual beliefs come from such classiccultures as Greece, Rome, Egypt, England, etc. We see divinity asbeing portrayed in both female and male guises as both Gods andGoddesses, or sometimes as being genderless. That same divinity isalso seen as being present in the people, plants, animals and landaround us. Pagans generally have very benevolent ethics and hold thatthe individual is responsible for their actions and making amends whenthey have caused harm. Pagans have a rich, beautiful, and meaningful culture.
Samhain is one of the most personal and intimate of the Pagan holidayscurrently celebrated. It is a time when we remember and pay homage toour loved ones that have passed on… our mothers, fathers, children,grandparents, etc. It is deeply emotional and deeply beautiful. Itis also, unfortunately, the time when the media brings up stereotypedimages of green-skinned witches or malicious evildoers over a steamingcauldron. Curious members of the media may be phoning or showing upon a doorstep unknowingly asking deeply personal and insensitivequestions, or asking to film a deeply private experience.
These stereotypes can be even more hurtful when they come from people suchas Father John Walsh, who comes from an organization that organized anddrove the historic destruction of Pagan cultures and the torture andmurder of witches and Pagans for political and economic gain. Whilefew modern Pagans hold animosity towards the Catholic Church, there isan underlying sensitivity given that history.
This Samhain, I will be sitting down to a candlelit dinner and puttingout an empty table setting for my loved ones that have passed on. Iwill quietly remember them, their impact on my life, and my love forthem. I may end up singing or reciting poetry in their honour, and Iwill likely raise a glass of wine in their memory. I will likely cry.
I have received and read the apology from Bram Eisenthal (ED. NOTE: An on-line apology I made earlier, not the one found in this issue), the publisher of The Local Herald. I accept the apology as sincere and consider the matter closed.
About myself: I currently live in London, Ontario and have been a practicing Wiccan and Pagan for over two decades. I am the founder of www.thewicca.ca and a poet and musician in the Pagan community.
In my column on Halloween, all the references to Paganism were intended to indicate their influence on Halloween. I also point out that All Hallow’s Eve actually preceded the Roman Catholic Church’s adoption and adaptation of some of these references, especially when juxtaposed against the Feasts of All Souls and All Saints.
My column was not intended to be an attack on Paganism or Pagans, as some readers have taken it to imply. I take full responsibility, however, for any misinterpretations of Paganism and when these offended some readers, I do apologize.
I should also remind many that, as is the case with most of the people who partake in its festivities today, I do very much view Halloween as a fun festival, not the spiritual holiday celebrated by Pagans for a very long time. And while All Souls and All Saints are taken very seriously by me, based on my religious education as a Catholic priest, I still see Halloween as a day when pumpkins are carved, children trick or treat and a good time is had by all.
That is admittedly my take on the matter, but I concede that there can certainly be interpretations quite different than mine.
We share one world… together we can make it a better world. - Father John Walsh
Reprinted From The Local Seeker Montreal West End Edition (a.k.a. The Local Shrieker), Halloween 2010 issue:
Jezza’s Wiccan Chicken
Marinade: 1/3 cup lemon juice * 1/3 cup olive oil * 4-6 garlic cloves * Pasted * 1 bottle of Seduction Spice
Seduction Spice: 3 teaspoons ground cumin * 3 teaspoons paprika * ½ teaspoons cayenne * 1 teaspoons ground coriander * 1 teaspoons saffron powder * ½ teaspoon ground cloves * 2 teaspoons ground ginger * 3 teaspoons salt **Makes 1 bottle
Other ingredients: 1 whole chicken * 2 lemons, quartered * chicken stock, as needed. * 1 cup potatoes, carrots * 1 cinnamon stick
Pre-mix your spices the night before, while performing you usual seduction ritual. This will help the spices better marry together and allow enough time for the magical ingredients to complement each other, working as a whole. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Mix all of the ingredients for the marinade and rub onto chicken. Refrigerate for one hour. Stuff the bird with lemon quarters and place into an oven-proof pot. Place vegetables around the bird, then fill the pot halfway with chicken stock, submerging all of the vegetables. Add cinnamon stick to the stock. Cover with a lid and place into the oven for 40 min +/- or until the legs fall off easily. Remove the chicken from the pot and place onto an oven-proof rack. Place back into the oven for 20 min, or until the skin has become a crispy golden brown. Turn bird over and repeat. Meanwhile, remove vegetables from the sauce and strain the leftover juices. Reduce the sauce in a sauce pan and serve as gravy. Merry Meet,
localheraldmontreal.com - NOVEMBER 9, 2012 - pg. 11
Read On! - Andreas Kessaris
Liner Notes - Sharon Hyland
Historic lunacy had its musical themes of warning and triumph The summer of '69 proved to be a pivotal time for much more than a reminiscant Bryan Adams. All eyes were up and optimistic about man's first steps on the moon and the musical landscape would take its likely natural turn. Each discovery not only represents where we are going, but also where we are moving. That's progress for ya. Full respect for what was, as it propels us further ahead and takes what we've learned along with it. The ‘60s had begun with the presidential promise to get to the moon before the end of the decade and, musically, it started with a hit soundtrack song that carried over from its successful release in '59. Percy Faith had orchestrated a swirling instrumental as the Theme from a Summer Place, which not only matched the film's love stories, but also the more innocent approach of the time (whether innocent or naive, since at that time segregation would still be providing different washrooms and entrances for people with different skin colour… ridiculous, but I digress). I suppose “innocent” in a way that would feature an instrumental as the longest running number one song of 1960. Throughout this decade of worldwide growth and exploration – one that would get us to the point of confidently sending men into spaceour broadened horizons would be reflected in the music that saw the arrival of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and all the other British invaders, Motown's success story, the widening of folk music and so
Dawkins’ latest effort tries to bridge gap
For most of us, childhood is a wondrous time when anything is possible and we can still believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and other myths and legends. But we all have to grow up sometime and when we hang on to the aforementioned beliefs for too long, we end up with a society that is certain Jesus Christ will come out of the sky like some kind of superhero within the next 50 years and remedy all our woes. More than 40 percent of American adults believe this, despite the fact there is absolutely no scientific evidence that it will happen.*
In his latest book, The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True, best-selling author and scientist Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion, The Selfish Gene, The Greatest Show on Earth), tries to forge a smooth transition from childhood fantasies to adult actualities without being patronizing.
Dawkins begins most chapters with myths (several of which are quite interesting and were previously unknown to me), and later explains the rational, scientific reality of the subject at hand in a style that is direct and easy to understand. It is similar to a textbook in style, (although definitely much less bland than the ones we had at Barclay Elementary School), designed to get young readers interested in science. On that level it works, however the illustrations by Dave McKean may prove a little too
much more. The world was ready for it all. After careful testing and planning, the “space race” would see NASA as the clear winner, boasting the first manned mission to the moon on July 16, 1969. It was the ultimate in optimism. Interestingly, the song spending its second of six consecutive weeks at number one at that time was In the Year 2525, by Zager & Evans: A folkie, psychedelic sound to a dismal look at what we could become... kind of like a one hit wonder warning them to be careful in the face of all this space travel success. While trips to space have happened for mankind ever since, Zager & Evans made their one and only appearance on the charts with their futuristic look at the world's potential demise. It is tied for longest running number one song in 1969, with The 5th Dimension's Aquarius/Let The Sun Shine In. Despite all the dancing hippies that come to mind, it is wildly more optimistic. There's something to be said for smiling in the face of adversity, knowing success will come even if we are careful. Sharon Hyland is a DJ with classic rock station CHOM-FM in Montreal.
abstract, if not creepy, for some. To me they are reminiscent of the artwork in Pink Floyd’s The Wall, but I digress. The Magic of Reality is not a serious science book for adults, unless Dawkins planned to use it as a means of reasoning with religious yahoos and Jesus freaks in Minnesota and Kentucky, where creationism is still taught in schools. Mature readers or traditional fans of Dawkins’ previous works may find it a tad light. For them I say go find a copy of Bill Bryson’s brilliantly amazing A Short History of Nearly Everything, now available in a marvellous illustrated edition.
True story: By some bizarre and eerie coincidence, in the wee hours of Wednesday, October 10, 2012, while on Chapter 10 (which deals with the subject of seismology), Montreal was hit with a 4.5 magnitude tremor that I felt at the exact moment I read the word “earthquake.” I think the next book I read should be about winning the lottery! But if I do that, I would be missing the entire point of The Magic of Reality, because as I stated earlier, it was just a strange coincidence. And Dawkins is correct: Science and nature are more beautiful, more “magical,” than any myth or legend. It’s time to wake up and tune in the real universe.
* If you want to learn more about the possible consequences of hanging on to childish, irrational beliefs for too long, be sure to read my story Superstition is Not the Proper Means of Getting Things Done on my website www.essaysbyandreas.com.
pg. 12 - NOVEMBER 9, 2012 - localheraldmontreal.com
Entertainment Entre Nous - Shlomo Schwartzberg
Science fiction that intelligent space buffs would enjoy As a long-time science fiction buff, I rarely find SF films to be as good as the best novels in the field. That’s because Hollywood usually dumbs down the complex tropes of science fiction – alternate history, time travel, dystopias, etc. – in order to make the genre’s ideas as palatable to as many filmgoers as possible. Here, however, are ten SF movies you should see. One of the earliest SF movies, Fritz Lang’s 1927 silent Metropolis is still one of the most original. Two worlds, a slave world and one that oversees it high above in the skies, interact, changing everything for good or for worse. Its ideas about master and servant percolate in many SF movies that follow, including, 40 years later, an episode of TV’s original Star Trek. The 1950s were the golden age of SF films and 1951’s The Day the Earth Stood Still was one of the finest. Klaatu, an extraterrestrial, visits Earth but does he bring words of peace or of war? The film’s message, about co-operation among man and his neighbours still reverberates today. Forbidden Planet (1956) transplants Shakespeare’s The Tempest to another planet. Dated, but still very intelligent filmmaking. Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange (1971) / Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982): Neither film fully holds up – the former is cold around the edges, the latter narratively slack – but they both offer views of a dark future that is arresting and vivid. More significantly, they don’t look like they’re set in our time, no mean feat when so many SF movies have us dress and talk the same way decades down the road. As depictions of dystopias go, A Boy and His Dog (1975), based on Harlan Ellison’s award winning novella, is one of the raunchiest and most viciously satirical. Its message attacking conformity and rigidity still holds true. George Miller’s 1981 Australian classic The Road Warrior (aka Mad Max 2) is one of the most exciting and engrossing renditions of the end of our world as we know it. Canadian Don McKeller’s delicate and gentle Last Night (1998) is one of the most touching.
M u s i c a l M u s i n g s - Jeffrey May
When I first became aware of the fact that music was going to be my path in life . . . my primary focus and passion, and more . . . I did not really see or understand what was in store for me. I knew I had to learn to play music, and became obsessed, to say the least, for the longest time. It was somewhat like trying to solve a great big puzzle. A puzzle that, just when you think you might be getting close to understanding how it works, or how big it is, it suddenly becomes 100 times bigger and even more mysterious than ever. Now, a little over 40 years later, a touch of wisdom is finally creeping into my psyche. Whereas in the past, I was (and yes, of course, largely still am) rather self-absorbed with my musical pursuits (one has to be, to be a musician!), I am finally "getting" it. What I am "getting", is that this gift I have been blessed with all these years is not about me at all. It's about connecting with others, in any and every way possible. Whether it is with a student, a group of preschoolers in daycare, a sing-a-long with a group of elderly people, or a concert situation, the whole point of it all is that music feels good when it is shared. It brings people together in a way that is unique in all the world. And now I find myself in a peculiar situation. I have learned to play a great deal of musical styles on a great many musical instruments, know a great many phenomenal musicians and have very little work! And so it is in this spirit that I am offering to anyone interested, a small musical combo (duo, trio, quartet) to play at any type of social gathering, at a very reasonable cost. It has been my experience, over and over again, that when I bring live music to a party, no matter how large or small, the result is always the same. People are positively thrilled by our musical presence. It is nothing at all like having recorded music playing in the background. There is a life force that cannot be equalled in any other way. Between now and December 31, I know that many people will be entertaining guests, in the home, at the office, and elsewhere. If you are one of these people, and want to add a dimension of elegance, joy, and sophistication that only music can create, then give me a call and I know we can work something out to make everyone happy! Contact info at: www.jeffmaymusic.com
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) / E.T.: the Extraterrestrial (1982); Steven Spielberg’s two views of alien visitation. One is about the wonder of it all, the other about friendship between a boy and an otherworldly visitor. But they’re both films for the ages. And two more: Arnold Schwarzenegger as a murderous time traveling cyborg in James Cameron’s’ riveting, gritty The Terminator (1984). Michael J. Fox goes back in time in Robert Zemeckis’s clever and imaginative comedy Back to the Future (1985). A graduate of Ryerson University’s School of Journalism, former West End Montrealer Shlomo Schwartzberg is a veteran film critic, has regularly reviewed films for various publications and lectures on film and TV studies. He was the director of programming for the Toronto Jewish Film Festival for eight years.
localheraldmontreal.com - NOVEMBER 9, 2012 - pg. 13
SPORTS AND FITNESS
Spotlight on Sports - Paul Graif
NHL lockout a great opportunity to rediscover other sports, heroes
I was among the group of people who believed there was no chance the NHL and the Players Association would allow this labour dispute to stretch beyond a month. I mean how could they? This is a league that nearly sunk itself a short eight years ago, when it cancelled the entire season for the exact same reason. I guess I should have known better. Since that time, the game has gotten faster and more intense. The last two seasons featured some of the best playoffs I can remember from Round 1 through the Stanley Cup Finals. The league is making money hand-over-fist and the players are rich beyond belief. So it makes sense there should be a labour dispute. Problem is that everyone involved is channelling their best Gordon Gecko (see MDB: Wall Street), but this is a case of greed triumphing over good.
I have been watching a lot of classic games, some of the best from when I was a kid. It’s the hockey fix I am getting for now. It’s strange to watch the games from your youth so many years later. The play was intense, but not nearly as good as I remember it. It’s strange to think that today’s (ok, last season’s version) of the Columbus Blue Jackets could probably beat the famed Montreal Canadiens dynasty of the 1970’s. The players are so much faster, in better shape and more skilled now.
But watching old games is not enough during this quiet time in the world of sports. I don’t really pay attention to the NBA until it is closer to the playoffs, although I am hoping to finally get down to Boston this year to watch my beloved Celtics in
I came from outer space
The Cyclopath - ROB CALLARD
I must tell you the truth. It has been so long that I have lived this lie and now that you have stripped me of my titles, I have nothing left to live for. I would prefer to stay here on your planet, for on mine, there is no opportunity left for my type of humanoid. You see, when I landed here from Livestrongia in the late ‘70s, your world was in need of a hero and my mission was to save you all from the wrath of insecure Type-A Europeans who were beginning to dominate the sport of cycling, or Dual-Hubbed Propulsion Generation (DHPG) as it was called on my planet. I was given the task of attempting world-domination in your sport and while the rules were different here on Earth, in my quadrant they were quite acceptable. So I rightly chose to adhere to the rules of my planet. Can you blame me? With extensive knowledge gained from compulsory military DHPG training, I devised a scheme in which I became the Mastermind behind an intricate network of blood-dopers within the ranks of the world’s best DHPGs, or “cyclists,” as you commonly refer to them. In essence, I did what everyone else was doing… but better.
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person for the first time. I am a big fan of NCAA Basketball, having been to nine Final Fours. But again, this doesn’t fill my need for things to do in sports. So, I am planning to go to some amateur hockey games around Montreal until this lockout ends. I have plans to go to Concordia and McGill hockey, which I can attest, is very exciting. I am also going to attend my first Montreal Stars game in a couple of weeks, mainly because I want my daughter to be exposed to sports and I thought ‘what better way than to see some of the best female hockey players in the world?’
And since one of my jobs has me working in Kahnawake, I will watch the Kahnawake Condors Junior AAA team play. It’s exciting to be in the arena as every game has tons of goals and hitting. All of these games are why I fell in love with sports in the first place, anyway.The participants are there, not for the money obviously, but because they love the game. They play it with passion. There is no taking a night off despite making millions of dollars (see Gomez, Scott). I remember that during the last lockout I did very much the same thing. I even thought about writing a thank you note to the league and the Players Association for helping to restore my faith in sport. I realized at the time that I didn’t miss the NHL all that much. But I fell back under the league’s trance when play started up and the Habs once again became the only game in town. Well, that won’t happen again. And I know that there are more and more fans who vow never to come back. We are into the second month of the lockout and at this point I don’t really care when they settle this dispute. In the meantime, my hard-earned money will be spent on players and teams who deserve it.
What followed was an impressive run at seven world titles, instant fame, lucrative endorsement deals that ensured my financial well-being for life and the chance to avoid having to go back to my planet. You see, in recent years, with global warming touching the far ends of our galaxy, cycling had taken a back seat to a new sport called Bettmonockey. And now, the kingpin of that sport, a small wiry individual simply named Gary, was threatening the livelihood of millions of people associated with his sport. But above all else, I just wanted to stay here on Earth. It’s a cool place when it works. And I really hate Bettmonockey. It’s full of goons and spoiled brats whacking around a little round disc made of titanium… I think. Maybe it’s rubber... who knows… So all I ask of you is to recognize me for the good I have done. When I was set back with some health issues a few years ago, I found it in me to help those suffering from the same ailment. I wrote a few books to tell my story and inspire others and regardless of the rules I have broken, I have tried to expose as many young Earthlings to the sport of DualHubbed Propulsion Generation as possible. I think I have succeeded on that level to a certain degree. Whatever the case, I have finally come clean. Will you ever forgive me? May the Farce be with you...
Rob Callard is a restaurateur in Westmount who cycles to work from Beaconsfield eight months of the year. He is married with three young boys. They all support his cyclopathic passion.
Yoga U - Chantalle Kudsi
A natural choice for this issue of The Local Herald would be to discuss yoga as a path for cultivating inner space. Instead, I would like to take this opportunity to discuss yoga and outer space -- not the outer space of stars and galaxies, but the physical environment that sets the stage for our practice.
Where do you practice yoga? Where do you feel centred, peaceful and still? In its purity, yoga can be practiced anywhere -- on a train, in a yoga studio, or inside a doctor's waiting office. But if we want to create sacred space to bring connection and intention to our practice, we can take small actions to manifest an environment that will be more suited to supporting our yoga and meditation.
In your own home, find a quiet corner, one that has, perhaps, held no real function until now, and consider turning it into an area of sacred space. How?Â
First, clear the space. Clutter of the physical reflects clutter of the mind. Even if the rest of the room is not clear, commit to clearing this one corner.
Next, find a few, choice objects that are particularly meaningful to you, and that inspire a peaceful state of being. They could be pieces of driftwood that connect you with nature; rocks and shells from the beach; pine cones you collected on a recent walk; a favourite stuffed animal from childhood; a photograph of a beloved. Place the objects on a small, low table if you have one.
Next, try placing a candle (natural beezwax or soy is preferred, as these contain no chemical additives) in the centre. Place a small green plant on the table, if you have room.
Find a yoga mat, comfortable cushion, or chair that you will use for sitting in your sacred space. Commit to visiting this space for a few minutes every morning and evening. If the space is large enough, practice yoga asana here. If not, simply sit and close your eyes, breathe deeply in and out through the nostrils and take a few moments to meditate in tranquility and without distraction. Remember to light your candle at the start of your practice, as a way of initiating the space and marking your presence here each time. Extinguish the candle safely when you finish your practice, to mark the ending each time.
You can change the objects on the table as you feel. Let yourself be guided by your intuition -- you will know what you need and do not need in your sacred space. Experiment with good-quality incense, a lovely fabric for the table and some healing gemstones... Honour yourself and connect to something greater, by creating sacred space. Chantalle Kudsi leads small group classes in her zen yoga space in Cote Saint-Luc. Pregnancy Yoga, Mom & Baby Yoga, and Toddler Yoga coming soon....contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
localheraldmontreal.com - NOVEMBER 9, 2012 - pg. 15
On Inner Space
Quebec’s inner space cosmonauts taking the world by storm -Story and photos by Bram D. Eisenthal
As mentioned in my editorial this issue, there are many exciting developments taking place in outer space, but we are also making tremendous advances in inner space, as well, right here on Earth. I recently interviewed two young Quebecers who are really using high-tech innovation to the fullest and making all Quebecers proud as they leave their marks on the international stage. For Kennedy, 19, her passion was gleaned through her burgeoning educational experience. Hailing from small-town Ontario, she did most of her high school at Kuper Academy. From there, she partook in an artificial intelligence program at Stanford, then entered university one year early at The Clarkson School, although she has not yet graduated. How did Kennedy develop her deep interest in robotics, though? “Maybe it was all the Pokemon,” she joked, referring to the popular Asian computer game characters. “But I really think it happened when I bought my first humanoid robot (she and her parents split the cost), which took my experience beyond the Lego Mindstorms material I had been into. The robot, MANOI AT01, was a complex build and involved electronics much more. The controller board didn't work so well, so that's when I started to learn about Arduino. This led to Kennedy’s first successful product as a creator , RoboBrrd, not yet a household wrrd… but quickly getting there. “It's a robotic bird character, designed as a DIY (Do-It-Yourself) kit,” she tells us. “It started out as popsicle sticks, but I've learned how to design my own circuit boards and model the robot in 3D for laser-cutting the pieces. It's unlike other robots in that it really encourages creativity with its appearance and behaviours.” Kennedy then started hosting a Robot Party each week. “It's a Google+ Hangout for hobby robot builders all around the world. It's a fantastic way to meet new friends, learn some new skills for robotics and show off your robot as well!” She also began participating in creator shows, involving thousands of people, and not simply as an interested bystander, but as a winner of awards. “At the most recent one, Maker Faire NY 2012- we won two Editors Choice awards and also an Educators Choice! At the end of the weekend, however, I found the real award to be how many kids were left feeling inspired to try building a RoboBrrd.” Kennedy also started her own small business and RoboBrrd is much more than the corporate mascot. “It's pretty straight forward: I plan on launching RoboBrrd as a DIY kit and I plan on making additional kits. We are aiming to get more people interested in robotics, at a lower cost than found with other robot kits.” Finally, what about being a young role model for even younger kids, I asked? “Well, kids really seem to enjoy RoboBrrd,” she said with a humble shrug. For the Dorval-born Jean-Francois Gauthier, dabbling with electronics started, literally, in that palace of creative thought, the sandbox. “Electronics has been my hobby since I turned 12, but I even have photos from my childhood around 2 -3 years old, in the sandbox and playing with electrical extensions! “As a child, I was always been interested in technology, being curious by nature. I dismantled so many devices just to see how they worked inside, I can't recall how many gadgets I pulled apart. While I received my first computer in the ‘80s (a Texas Instrument TI99) and learned Basic
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programming by reading books, my aunt gave me a Radio Shack 200 in one project board kit that got me started designing my own electronic projects, as I said earlier, at the age of 12. “I later moved onto the famous Commodore 64 and continued learning programming on that machine. My father worked at the Montreal School Board in Information Technology, so I had the chance to see the evolution of computers and servers from the 1980s, ‘90s and 2000. Like a high tech child artist, I always felt proud to finish yet another electronic project that was built from ideas that ran through my mind.” Much later (1994) schooled at Institut Teccart , a private technical electronic college, Gauthier eventually landed full-time work as an electronics technician with a specialty in telecommunications. Then, the ultimate opportunity presented itself. “I met Jean Marc Pitet in the office of Shawinigan electrical contractor Laurent Cossette, from Le Groupe Cossette. Mr. Pitet was looking for an electronic consultant to design and build a GridBOT residential charging station, to charge the electrical cars that will soon change the face of transportation (and already are). I was available to take on more electronic design contracts, so I accepted his offer and started working on this project early in 2012. “I have been interested in energy saving projects forever, maybe because my grandmother used to tell me 'Shut the lights off when you leave the room! ' I guess she would be happy to see me now, working in energy saving projects.” Gauthier is quite certain that electric cars are the face of the future and that Quebec can be a leader in this field. “Here in Quebec, we are blessed with ecological green renewable hydro electricity. We are now up to 99 percent hydro power, thanks to the recent decision by the Quebec government to close down our old nuclear power plant, Gentilly-2. With all the electric surplus that Hydro Quebec has, an estimated one million electric cars can be put on Quebec roads with no impact whatsoever on our power grid. That's a nice way of saving and the world benefits, because we are going to stop sending our money to other polluting oil producing countries and start buying local green power to put in our new green ecological electric cars.” Gauthier then volunteered a startling statistic: “Did you realize that for about one dollar of electricity, you could drive from Montreal to Trois Rivières? A 130 km. trip!” Gauthier also challenges us to do our part, rather than simply paying lip service to energy conservation. “What is essential to consider is that conserving energy should be our top priority. Saving a KWH is better than generating one. Everyone should look into their own home and see how they could better insulate, fill air cracks in doors and block window openings before the heating season. There are some very nice Quebec government subsidies out there, like the 'RenoClimat' program that helps homeowners inspect, improve and save money on their heating bills.” And he warns parents that giving their kids too much technology as “toys” is not such a prudent idea. “I believe that all the high-tech goodies that exist right now for kids should not be given to them automatically. They should be treated as special rewards and given carefully, just like candy is. We need to help them understand that a high tech machine is not smarter than a human: Even the so called 'smartphones' are not as smart as they appear to be! There is always someone behind the scenes that made all that technology work like a charm, with countless hours of work.” You can read more about the GridBOT Residential EV Car Charger at www.gridbot.ca. The charger works with all available cars currently on the Quebec market (Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi IMiev, Ford Focus Electric). It takes between three to six hours to charge a car at 240V, twice as fast as it would using a regular 120V home plug.The retail price is $850 and the Quebec government pays up to $1000 in subsidies to purchase a car charger and to have it installed by a master electrician. Electric car purchases are also subsidised by the Quebec government, up to $8000$. See http://www.vehiculeselectriques.gouv.qc.ca/english/ Note that both Erin Kennedy and Jean-Francois Gauthier patronize Montreal electronics distributor Abra Electronics, where they buy many of their Arduino-based components, the ones that have taken the world by storm in recent months and years. To learn more, go to www.abraelectronics.com and type in Arduino, Sparkfun, Adafruit, Pololu, DFRobot and Raspberry Pi, to get started with your own revolutionary creations. From 80-year old men to 8-year old girls, they’re all doing it, it seems!
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A Very Special Message from The Local Herald
We wish Montreal’s Mayor Gerald Tremblay a very sincere adieu. We would prefer to state that “we hardly knew ya,” but unfortunately Capital-ize on this new opportunity we knew you far too well. Through one blunder after another, many As most of you know, everyone. It is a great way toincidents re-establish self-inflicted where your Jason Zuckerman ego was more important than your my specialty is dealing your credit with a "real" credit card to get www.mortgageratesmontreal.com (although, with clients who are self- yourself going in thecity right direction.we Therealize, card you Mortgage Brokers suffered from horrible myopia Hypotheca and employed, have credit is "unsecured" and recognized as a reputable (514) 771-1352 /1-800- 206-1350 never thought you were doing issues, a past card in the industry. Once you are a few anything against Montreal’s best bankruptcy/consumer months into the card, you can you even soldiered try and email@example.com Photo credit: wikipedia.org interests), on, proposal, or a combination of two of the get a new one to despite boost the yourfact credit your score constituents New high school planned for CSL’s NOTE: Jason, this is above. Unfortunately one of the even faster. It is very important keep wanted you gonetolong, longinago.(ED. It is our opinionWow, that you were amongst unbelievable news and could likely former Wagar site encounter is mind that even the very worst municipal mayors in history – who knew anyone challenges I see people though a credit card extremely positive for many, many trumplife, Pierre that they feel that lenders these days company is givingactually you new do Bourque, NOT “The Constant Gardener”? So it is with people. for one appreciate thislet hotthe tip, small amount of joyany that we send Iyou on your way. Don’t The defunct Wagar High couldchance soon beat reborn as a new aren't giving themSchool a second make any late no payments under whichoncan untold numbers doors of City Hall hit you squarely thehelp backside as you leave asof secondary thethey Englishare Montreal Board. credit.school, Theyreported feel like good School circumstances after a bankruptcy. New people with replacement, bad financial records. hastily as you possibly can. As for your interim or The school, at the corner of Parkhaven Rd.,will is not look at you for a very long peoplelocated that could get back on trackand Mackle creditors otherwise, we like Michael Appelbaum, des need Neiges-NDG Thankfully,theweCote did not to hold planned to open if in only time for thewere 2014 given – 2015one academic year. financially they time. If you have any questions, please don't borough mayor, because he is a our man collective of character, intelligence and,for above breath waiting the
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still a poor credit risk. Alsonow, announced was that Until the only cardSteven Erdelyi, Cote Saint-Luc councillor, former vice-principal of Westmount High School and currently they have been able to principal of Hampstead Elementary School, has been appointed as a get is a secured Master resource the new Plus. CSL high school. Erdelyi’s first official task Card fromforHorizon will becards to helpdo findserve a name These a for the school and the site www.NameTheSchool.com purpose to slowly get has been created to give the public a chance to participate. thus far include Cote Saint-Luc, your credit score up, Choices but Parkhaven, Wallenberg and Wagar High School or Academy. The site unfortunately, lending includes such a spaceasin which insurers CMHCto enter other options. and major banks don't Wagar High was seriously a pre-eminent institution among those operated take these cards decades under the auspices of the Protestant School Board of asforre-established credit Greater Montreal before which leaves people evenit became the English Montreal School Board. Founded in 1963, Wagar quickly became one of the premier more frustrated. They see centres of secondary level academia in the province. Its students these cards as pre-paid often top marks and notachieved "real" credit cards.provincially and its teams also regularly beatthere opponents at the popular Reach for the Top academic game Now, is a window of show. Until thefor earlythose 1970s, the school also fielded a football team. opportunity people frustrated by their Wagar was the EMSB in 2005 due to severely declining inability toclosed get bycredit enrolment, CAPITAL after whichONE the name lived on solely through the unsecured. adjacent Wagarcome Field. to has finally Quebec, offering For more information, call 514-483-7200 ext. 7429. unsecured credit cards. With varying limits, rates and perks, there is one for
THE LOCAL HERALD,
APRIL 20 (pg. 8)
FREE CLASSIFIED ADS: 514-975-7745 - NOVEMBER localheraldmontreal.com localheraldmontreal.com 9, 2012 - pg. 17
William Shatner – From space to our West End with (a bit of) love by Bram D. Eisenthal
William Shatner is our guy, no matter what he may tell you. He is inarguably a product of Montreal’s West End – the then-burgeoning community of Cote Saint-Luc, in fact - the son of Jewish parents who sent him to, among other summer diversions, Camp B’nai Brith in the Laurentians, where he d eve l o p e d his passion for acting w h i l e performing in camp plays prior to making his professional m a r k theatrically in Stratford, Ontario, with the likes of late Canadian acting legend Lorne Greene. Yet Captain Kirk often appears to discuss this fact q u i t e nonchalantly and with just a modicum of respect whenever asked about his roots during interviews and when McGill University’s Student Union Building folk decided to rename the place the Shatner Building, it has been said that he was not exactly exuberant about the move. Yet, he did do his now-famous “I am a Canadian” shtick at a Just for Laughs Gala several years ago, so at least he is not denying that fact.
I once had dinner with his sister, Farla, and while she had some nice things to say about her brother and her time with him during their youth, it appeared there is a complete embargo on any frank discussion regarding “The Shat,” who is now pushing 82. I asked if I could send him something to sign through her and my request was met by a “sorry, I can’t ask him that.” You’d think I’d asked for some DNA.
When Commander Hadfield stated how Star Trek had a lot to do with his desire to fly into the Earth’s stratosphere initially, I knew that there had to be some sort of homage to Shatner in this issue. He’s a West Ender, so come on! Problem is, as was the case with Leonard Cohen for a feature I once wrote marking his then-75 years, it’s hard to get these locally-bred
international celebs to talk to a small paper like this one. I tried, yes I did, to get Shatner’s agent to forward some questions to his famous client, to no avail. In fact, I received nary a reply to my queries. So I checked on line to find articles dealing with his growing up in Montreal and I succeeded. In an April 2012 interview with Esquire, for instance, Shatner admits that he is in remarkably good shape for an octogenarian and contrasts this with his forebears. His resting heart rate is 52 beats per minute! “The doctors go ‘Is that your heart-beat? Did you take something?’ Now they’re taking me off medication because my blood pressure’s too low.”
He openly discusses his father’s death of a stroke in 1968 and recalls how the family consumed tons of meat…. you were successful when “you brought meat home to the house and everybody ate meat. And if you were Jewish you brought gribenes (fried chicken fat)… schmaltz, but pieces of it… and the schmaltz goes into the potatoes, and you have kreplach, and then you have fried varenikes (dumplings). And my father was a heavy smoker because people smoked and ate and sat around. So what your parents died from has no bearing whatsoever on your possibilities. They knew nothing. People died then of a stroke. Exercise? A Jew doesn’t exercise.”
He spouts information about his family, his immigrant father and Montreal-born mother and how his dad brought 11 brothers and sisters here with him from Europe, scraping together the cash to book passage on a boat. “There’s a lot of Shatners in Montreal,” he said. There was also a lot of anti-Semitism back then, he recalled. “And I had to deal with that in an area of the city that had very few Jews.” Shatner experimented with drugs, mainly pot. “I’ve smoked some grass and exalted in the way it makes you
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feel. But you can’t make precise decisions on it. And acting is a precise thing. You’ve got to be exactly on it or, if you’re off it, you’re not as good as you would be if you were on it….”
He and (third) wife Lizzy once visited Amsterdam, a “crazy town,” he referred to it as.
“We were walking around Amsterdam in the winter time saying ‘Yeah, let’s get some drugs, see what that’s like.’ So we buy some mushrooms in a coffee shop (one of Amsterdam’s infamous brown cafes, where you order the drug of your choice, usually one of many offerings of marijuana, from a menu). And we’re walking around the Red Light District and the stuff is starting to take effect and Elizabeth’s having visions of love. But I’m getting paranoid. I think that Elizabeth and I are fish in the barrel, that we’re the prey… I’m seeing the demon coming out of the wall and she’s seeing the love of the universe. We spent 24 hours in Amsterdam in two exactly different ways. Then we got onto a plane and got out of there – fast.” The Shat also believes in an afterlife, as an “alternative to oblivion.
“But I don’t think it’s conscious. We’re all embers from the same fire. Our ember winks out, we’re ashes, we go back to the fire. I like that image. There has to be a unifying theory. I think there is a continuity of
some kind, that my love for my wife will go on past the death of my body. Nature is perfect.”
Shatner’s views on science fiction and fact, finely honed via his filmed experiences as the bridge commander of United Federation of Planets starship NCC-1701 and its many subsequent reconstructions,
are available for us all to enjoy, either in space or here on Earth.
Shatner has had input – to exactly what degree is unknown - in a comicbook series, William Shatner’s TekWar, that was also released as several novels and adapted into a TV series. And his 2004 book, I’m Working on That, is a riveting read examining science fiction’s path to science fact as seen through the eyes of a Star Trek alumnus.
On TV, of course, he has achieved great international renown on TJ Hooker and Boston Legal, two postTrek shows, but was also a morethan-competent guest star on many TV shows prior to ST. His highly acclaimed role on the Twilight Zone episode “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” is one of the finest performances from that original Rod Serlingcrafted fantasy/sci-fi series. During the third season of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, 1957-1958, he had a starring role in the episode “The Glass Eye,” marking one of his first appearances on American television, according to Wikipedia.
It is Shatner’s spoken word body of work, however, that is truly memorable, usually critically and popularly acclaimed but sometimes inadvertently laughable. Beginning with 1968’s The Transformed Man, he has recorded several albums and his renditions of songs such as “Mr. Tambourine Man,” “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and “Rocket Man” have often been parodied. Still, his 2004 CD Has Been is a fine piece of work that was released to excellent reviews and his 2011 effort, Seeking Major Tom, features two CDs worth of sci-fi themed songs accompanied by a stable of “name” musicians, including Johnny Winter, Sheryl Crow, Peter Frampton and Lyle Lovett.
And, for astronauts, his recording of the wake-up call for the crew of Space Shuttle Discovery, flight STS133, on March 7, 2011, must be the stuff of legends.
Live long and prosper, Bill, but don’t ever forget where you came from. Even when you are ashes once again, those embers were stoked in Montreal’s West End.
Are we there yet?
Well, well, well... We’ve run out of
Fun with words
Next up, The Holiday Issue…. Cool gifts and cooler features for a
Out Friday, December 21, 2012
Deadline Friday, December 14, 2012.
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6 Simulate (7) 7 Loamy deposit (5) 9 A strong current of air (4) 10 A disorder where dreams are confused with reality (10) 11 Fidgety (8) 13 Snuggle (6) 15 Cleveland's state (4) 17 A form of theological rationalism (5) 18 Collections (4) 19 Smooth (6) 20 Vindictive (8) 23 Imperil (10) 26 Part of a foot (4) 27 Triangular formation (5) 28 Deliberately vague (7)
1 Unreal (10) 2 Long-tailed black-and-white crow (6) 3 Scorch (4) 4 Bauxite (8) 5 "The Way We ___" (4) 6 Become accustomed (to) (5) 8 Frypan (7) 12 Long narrow openings (5) 14 Characterized by order and planning (10) 16 A pike fitted with an ax head (7) 17 Dawn (8) 21 Medicine that causes vomiting (6) 22 Parental brother (5) 24 Tablet (4) 25 Detail (4)
localheraldmontreal.com - NOVEMBER 9, 2012 - pg. 19
Quote as of October 15th, 2012 pg. 20 - NOVEMBER 9, 2012 - localheraldmontreal.com