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Sunday Newsletter 2001-10Su.
March 11, 2001.
My "warning" at the beginning of this week's biography is merely for artistic effect -- I always wanted to be artistic. There is nothing there that can't be read by all -- no vulgar language or anything. I just thought the individual deserved a little something special upon his introduction. Don't miss his quotes below either.
== TABLE OF CONTENTS ==
= Question of the week
= Biography -- David Cronenberg
= Notes from the notable -- Karen Marie Connelly
= Literary legacy
= This week's idiom
= A new Canadian record
= Joke of the week
= Place names -- Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, Alberta
= Quotes of the week
= Recipe for the week -- Canadian Cheddar Soup
= This week's top ten
= Did you know?
= Words of the week
= Answer to this week's question
= Links and resources
= Legal and subscription information
== QUESTION OF THE WEEK ==
What is an Alberta Clipper? Answer near the bottom.
== BIOGRAPHY ==
Warning! This biography contains the sampling of a life work that some may call deviant, while others have described his work as exploitive, experimental, inspiring, sadistic, erotic and ground breaking. How can all these terms be applied to the same person? If you are familiar with some of Cronenberg's earlier films like "Shivers", "Rabid", "The Brood" or perhaps "Videodrome", then you can probably relate to some of the labels Cronenberg initially acquired. There are also the projects he worked on during a period we could call his "middle era", like "The Dead Zone", "The Fly", "Naked Lunch" and "Crash". These films would engender a different glossary. Then we could move into his most recent projects, like "I'm Losing You", "eXistenZ" (also going by the working title of "Crimes of the Future" here in his native Canada) and the movie short "Camera". For these, the terms "inspiring" and "groundbreaking" could be applied. If nothing else, Cronenberg's undertakings in the film world could easily be summed up as controversial. While huge cult followings have resulted from his initial releases, many of these "gore seekers" could probably not fathom the intentions of his more recent, critically acclaimed output.
Born in Toronto, Ontario, on March 15, 1943, Dave "the deprave" Cronenberg is, according to movie critic Leonard Maltin, "the highly influential film director whose works are often metaphors for larger social questions". However, the hat of a director is not the only one to be worn by Cronenberg. He has also produced and written many other films and screenplays, at times working in both the role of editor and cinematographer, and has done much acting (albeit in small roles), usually portraying himself in various offerings. David has also shepherded family members into the film industry: his sister Denise Cronenberg, works as costume designer on many of his projects; his daughter, Cassandra, follows some of his footsteps working with him on individual projects in varying roles, including that of assistant director.
David's talents probably stem partially from his father, who was a journalist, and his mother, who played the piano. His early inclination towards writing was displayed when he published chilling short stories as a teen, while playing classical guitar. From this odd combination, Cronenberg went on to study English and science at the University of Toronto. After a while he dropped his science studies (probably due to the fact that his own theories were not mainstream, making the reality and facts of science a difficult chore) and concentrated on literature. While studying there he made two short films; "Stereo" and the original "Crimes of the Future". These were more along the lines of commentaries on scientific experiments set in a vaguely familiar futuristic world. These "shorts" were considered adventurous and avant-garde in both their structure and form. With this recognition, Cronenberg decided he would pursue this avenue for his life's work and establish himself by projecting his thoughts onto the mainstream commercial world. Through this unique approach, David has etched his name in cinematic circles as the inventor a new genre.
Cronenberg's body of work has earned him numerous awards and nominations, including the Jury Special Prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 1996 for "Crash". Other festivals, from Berlin to Boston to Brussels, have also honoured his work. He has amassed the most recognition at the Avoriaz Fantastic Film Festival in France, which changed its name to the Gerardmer Film Festival in 1994, and here at home in Canada by winning five Genie Awards.
There is a very interesting British review of "eXistenZ", on the Internet Movie Data Base Web site, comparing this movie to "The Matrix". (Please see today's resources at the bottom of the page.) I encourage everyone to read it.
== NOTES FROM THE NOTABLE ==
Name: Karen Marie Connelly.
A.K.A.: Karen Connelly.
Date of Birth: March 12, 1969.
Place of Birth: Calgary, Alberta.
Author of books of poetry and non-fiction.
Explores themes of travel, cultural alienation, diction and vernacular.
"The Small Words in my Body" (1990).
"Touch the Dragon: A Thai Journal" (1992).
"This Brighter Prison; A Book of Journey" (1993).
"One Room in a Castle: Letters from Spain, France and Greece" (1995).
"The Disorder of Love" (1997).
"The Border Surrounds Us" is her latest offering (2000).
1990 Pat Lowther Award.
1993 Governor General's Award for non-fiction.
Member of the League of Canadian Poets.
Immerses self in country or area while researching material. Mostly recently lived in Greece.
"Accomplished work by a woman rapidly becoming one of Canada's best writers... Connelly writes poems that appeal to all the faculties." --NeWest Review.
== LITERARY LEGACY ==
The fine Canadian author Laurali Rose Wright (L.R. Wright) lost her battle with breast cancer on February 25, 2001. I had included her in issue 2000-20Su (this link) last year when recommending some of Canada's best mystery authors. Her ongoing Karl Alberg series of crime novels will be especially missed by fans. Affectionately known as "Bunny" to her friends, the award-winning author leaves behind a legacy of writing that will continue to provide us with the occasional escape from the pressures of the real world.
== THIS WEEK'S IDIOM ==
"Slip of the tongue". This phrase means to make the mistake of saying something you had not planned or wanted to say; an error in speech.
Example: "The employees always knew they would find out some interesting news, whenever the boss had a few drinks. All they had to do was wait around and sooner or later there would be a slip of the tongue."
== A NEW CANADIAN RECORD ==
Director Ang Lee's "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" has become the highest grossing foreign language film in Canadian history. As of March 1, 2001, the film had taken in $11 200 000 at the Canadian box office. The film, which opened last December in Canada, surpassed the previous Canadian record held by Roberto Benigni's "Life is Beautiful", which amassed $10 500 000 during its run in 1997. A spokesman for the Canadian distributor of the film, Blackwatch Releasing, said that the Academy Award-nominated film is currently playing on 132 screens nationwide and is destined to realize much more by awards night.
== JOKE OF THE WEEK ==
The Canadian government, in its infinite wisdom, plans to rename a province. Manitoba, they claim, is too "gender specific". Therefore it will be renamed "Personitoba".
== PLACE NAMES ==
Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, Alberta.
Located about 17 kilometres west of Fort MacLeod, Alberta, this unique place name is considered a cliff, according to Natural Resources Canada "feature type" allocation system. Much more than a cliff, it is also an historic site within the designated Provincial Heritage Site of the same name. This conservation area was also designated a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1981.
"Buffalo jumps" were part of the ancient hunting culture of the North American plains aboriginals. These people had an excellent understanding of their terrain and of the buffalo or bison behaviour patterns. They killed bison by chasing them over a cliff and then carving up the carcasses in the camp below. A particular tale associated with Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump recounts the story of a curious brave scout who was trapped on a ledge as the buffalo plunged over the "jump", and was subsequently found with his skull crushed.
== QUOTES OF THE WEEK ==
These were so good, so I chose two from today's biography subject.
"Censors tend to do what only psychotics do... they confuse reality with illusion." --David Cronenberg.
"I don't have a moral plan. I'm a Canadian." --David Cronenberg.
== RECIPE FOR THE WEEK ==
Canadian Cheddar Soup.
2 tablespoons (25 ml) butter
1/4 cup (50 ml) onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup (50 ml) carrot, finely chopped
1/4 cup (50 ml) celery, finely chopped
2 tablespoons (25 ml) flour
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) dry mustard
1 pinch nutmeg
1 pinch pepper
3 cups (750 ml) chicken stock
1 1/2 cups (375 ml) light cream
1 cup (250 ml) milk or beer
1 1/2 cups (375 ml) cheddar cheese, shredded
1 dash Worcestershire sauce
In a heavy saucepan sauté butter, onion, carrot and celery for about 5 minutes or until tender; do not brown. Stir in flour, mustard, nutmeg and pepper; cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in chicken stock; simmer for about 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. If desired, purée until smooth in blender or food processor. Add cream and milk or beer and bring almost to a boil. Add cheese; heat until just melted, stirring constantly. Add Worcestershire sauce and a little salt.
== THIS WEEK'S TOP TEN ==
In this week's "Place Names" article I mentioned an organization by the name of UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization). The statistical information below is provided by them. What are the top ten nations when it comes to the number of radios owned per thousand residents?
# Country Radios per 1000 residents 1. United States 2093 2. United Kingdom 1433 3. Australia 1304 4. Canada 1053 5. Denmark 1034 6. South Korea 1024 7. Monaco 1019 8. Finland 1008 9. New Zealand 997 10. Germany 944From this top ten list we can determine that Canadians, at position number four, through to the Germans in the tenth position, own an average of one radio each. Americans seem to own an average of two radios each.
== DID YOU KNOW? ==
The first trademark issued in Canada went to D. Crawford and Company on July 29, 1865. The product trademarked was soap. The first issued after Confederation went to the company Northrup and Russell for a washing machine, and was issued July 17, 1868.
== WORDS OF THE WEEK ==
avant-garde -- (French, noun) the people who develop new and experimental ideas, especially in the arts. -- (adjective) of or having to do with such people or the movements started by them.
psychotic -- (adjective) of, having to do with, or affected with psychosis; unstable or mentally ill. -- (noun) an unstable or mentally ill person.
trademark -- (noun) a mark, picture, symbol or name that identifies a product or service as being produced or sold by a particular company, and that is protected by law. A trademark may legally be applied only to goods or services produced or sold by the company that owns it. -- (verb) 1. distinguish by means of a trademark. 2. register (a name, symbol, etc.) as a trademark.
== ANSWER TO THIS WEEK'S QUESTION ==
What is an Alberta Clipper? It's a storm.
== PREVIEW ==
Next week I appeal to the particle physicists among our readership, profile David Suzuki, go all out and list a whole bunch of Canadians born during the week, look back at Rick Hansen's "Man in Motion" tour, profile both Mississauga and Etobicoke, Ontario, tell you a bit about royal heraldry as it relates to Canada, list the provincial and territorial holidays, tell you about Canadian museums, and announce our latest contest.
"Oh What A Feeling 2", the second vital collection of Canadian Music released once again on four discs, will be the next prize awarded by the ever-thrifty duo here at FactsCanada.ca. So, ensure you dig out your thinking caps before next week as I conceive an appropriate question to ask would-be winners. This collection is comprised of 76 songs from Canadian artists as diverse as Shania Twain, Diana Krall, Lee Aaron and Ashley MacIsaac. A full list of all songs and artists on these CDs can be viewed from the link in today's resources (below).
== LINKS AND RESOURCES ==
FactsCanada.ca -- http://www.factscanada.ca
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