Monthly Archive: April 2008

The land that feminism forgot

The pulchritudinous women chosen by Silvio Berlusconi to serve in his cabinet should surprise no one. The resurrected prime minister of Italy, back for his third time in office, is renowned for flirting, making rude gestures to policewomen and remarking on the number of girlfriends he’s had despite the fact he’s married. The four females picked for cabinet include a showgirl, an actress, another who is best known for her short skirts and a Miss Italy contestant. In fact, Berlusconi’s style fits perfectly into the Italian way of life where women are admired far more for their beauty than their...

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The business of books

If I were to guess when the National Business Book Award went off the rails, I would pick 1999 when Ingeborg Boyens won for “Unnatural Harvest.” The topic was genetic engineering and the book was about science, not business. Since then, there have been many books nominated that should have won but have not. And there have been many other books that shouldn’t have been nominated but went on to win. Gord Pitts is a good example of an excellent author who has been nominated a record four times and should have won at least once but hasn’t. (Conflict of...

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Keep on truckin’

Shortly after establishing this blog a year ago when Fantasy in Florence was first published, I realized that the question asked most often was: Where can I buy your book? As an author, this is always a frustration. You like to scream, “In a bookstore, what do you think?” But I hold my tongue and make suggestions. As part of being helpful, I decided to put a link on this site to one of the online possibilities, so I checked out chapters.indigo.ca and discovered delivery took three-to-five weeks, far longer than it would take to read the book. By contrast,...

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Lucre and larceny

If ever a frequent flyer program has been rendered useless, it has to be Aeroplan. As a member since 1984, the year of the plan’s inception, I used to be able to save points for three or four years and use them for two business class seats that required 60,000, and later 80,000, points per person. In that way, over the years we’ve flown business class on Air Canada to Los Angeles, London and Florence via Frankfurt. Compared to traveling in steerage, going business class really was a reward for my loyalty to the carrier. With wider seats, better service,...

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Lament for a nation

Congratulations to Industry Minister Jim Prentice for scotching the MacDonald, Dettweiler and Associates (MDA) deal. If ever an American takeover cried out for such unprecedented action, this was it. As makers of Canadarm and Radarsat-2, the satellite that guards the Arctic, MDA should remain Canadian and now will. The fact that this is the first time Canada has stopped such a grab riles me. We’ve been selling out this country since the nineteenth century when sawmills were the focus of foreign interest. Why exactly do we protect banks and cable companies and so little else? Even bookstores are shielded. Chapters/Indigo...

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Santo subito

The anniversary of Pope John-Paul II’s passing reminded me how we heard about his death in 2005. We’d been out to dinner that Saturday night and were walking home along the streets of Florence about 10 p.m. when, suddenly, church bells began to toll. Never before had we heard bells at that time of night but we knew immediately what the somber sound meant. Il Papa e morto. The pope is dead. A crowd gathered on the steps of the Duomo. Some stood with heads bowed, others lifted their faces toward Heaven. For the most part, everyone was silent, lost...

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