In the minds of 10 American prisoners of war, their Vietcong captors were actually “Klingons,” the No. 1 enemy of the United Federation of Planets in the 23rd century. For 2½ torturous years, the captives immersed themselves in a survival tactic they called “the Star Trek game.”
It seems fitting in a book season that greets the coming decade with A Choice of Catastrophes: The Disasters That Threaten Our World, Isaac Asimov’s encyclopedia of present dangers, that there are so few big gentle gift books, the kind that suit everyone from a little sister to an octogenarian aunt.
In the chill dawn of Ashura, the day of atonement when the prophet’s grandson Husain was hacked to death in the desert at Karbala 13 centuries ago, black rain clouds rolled in over the Elburz mountains, setting a sinister backdrop. Across the unaccustomed early-morning silence of Tehran, thousands of copper cymbals and crepedraped funeral drums exploded in a measured dirge.
While most people may not know it, they’re living in a new Golden Age of Song. The new Caruso, Luciano Pavarotti, smiles out from the covers of magazines and is the darling of the chat shows: a household name. A horde of new singers such as Kiri Te Kanawa, Edda Moser, José van Dam, Jessye Norman, Placido Domingo, Renata Scotto, Hildegard Behrens, Illeana Cotrubas and Edita Gruberova may well be remembered as legends.
"Some guys see a rock and roll singer and all they can say is ‘What a great set of knockers,’” sighs Rachel Paiement, the 23-year-old lead vocalist and sole female member of the Sudbury, Ontario, bilingual band CANO. “Sometimes the rest of the band thinks I should push it,” Paiement says of the internal debate over the amount of sex appeal that’s required for success.
If there’s one emotion new mothers may share, besides the joy and depression of giving birth, it’s frustration at a less than satisfactory hospital experience. The place is so geared to sickness that childbirth sometimes seems reduced to insignificance.
It was by all accounts the most bizarre afternoon The Globe and Mail newsroom has seen in many a year. Newsbreaks, scoops or world crisis may occasionally stir the tempo at Canada’s most “serious” daily newspaper, but the tension in the air last Friday came from an entirely different source: anxiety from within the newspaper itself—like the tremor of fear and excitement sweeping through a hive of bees at the birth of a new and rival queen.
David Thomas’ article on the Mohawk peacekeepers, Now Who Shall Keep the Peace? (Nov. 5), was objective and accurate, but I would like to clarify three of his statements. Thomas refers to the peacekeepers as looking “like B-movie members of a Wild West posse.”
When Ed Broadbent woke up May 23, his post-election view included 14 new members in his caucus and an average age that had dropped overnight from 49.6 to 37. Many of the newcomers looked like rehabilitated hippies with their trim beards, casual corduroy and collegial airs, and Commons oldtimers were quick to rename the NDP bleachers “kiddies’ corner.”
Although the international crisis in Iran put much of the election politicking out of the headlines (though not out of action, see box) last week, it was still open season on Teddy Kennedy’s checkered private life. In a provocative article in The Washington Monthly, contributing editor Suzannah Lessard unequivocally argued that the embarrassing question of Kennedy’s womanizing should be “publicly discussed as a legitimate issue in the campaign,” not resolutely ignored as an invasion of privacy—the usual formula with public figures.
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