Newsmakers - Macleans.ca
 

Newsmakers

J.K. Rowling’s big reveal, Quebec’s felicidal mayor and Carly Rae’s amazing pitch


 
Newsmakers

J. Meric/Getty Images

Call it a foul, maybe?

Even as she stood on the pitcher’s mound, it was obvious that Carly Rae Jepsen was about to embarrass herself. Sporting acid-washed daisy dukes and nude fishnet stockings, the Canadian pop singer tossed a dud of a first pitch at a Tampa Bay Rays game. Footage of her unintentionally spiking the ball, which rolled pathetically over the first base line and into a cameraman’s bag, went viral. Jepsen laughed it off: “I made ESPN with my fail of a pitch,” she tweeted. “Lol—Daddy must be so proud.”

On his ninth political life

In the last eight months, four Quebec mayors have been turfed from office for scandals involving corruption, gangsterism and an alleged sex-for-hire escapade. Yet even in this rogues’ gallery, Stéphane Gendron has managed to stand out. The mayor of Huntingdon, a small town near the U.S. border, who was previously known for his anti-Israel comments, recently declared his affinity for murdering cats with his truck. “When I see a cat in the street, I accelerate,” Gendron told listeners of his radio program. “The other day, I backed over a newborn and I’m sure it didn’t feel a thing. I was very happy.” Gendron was forced to apologize for his “exaggeration” after the SPCA opened an investigation into the loose-lipped mayor.

Gamer-in-chief

The new head of Microsoft’s Xbox is a woman—and gamers have taken to online message boards to vent their frustration at, yes, her gender. Julie Larson-Green, who’s been at Microsoft for two decades and is the company’s highest-ranking female executive, has been put in charge of all the company’s hardware, including the Xbox gaming consoles. Next will be “apps dedicated to baking and knitting,” one wit posted to Reddit, while another dubbed her “easy on the eyes.” Larson-Green isn’t one to be intimidated. In 2001, according to Bloomberg, she “body-slammed a six-foot-six colleague who was blocking her exit” when an earthquake shook her office. “When I have a direction I want to go, it doesn’t matter who’s in my way,” she said.

Her next battle

Lindor Reynolds is a Winnipeg institution. For more than 20 years, the Winnipeg Free Press columnist has written movingly on everything from the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., to her family, to the latest scandal in the ’Peg. She has, at times, been the city’s conscience and its lightning rod. A month ago, Reynolds wrote about turning 55 and the lessons she learned along the way. So her column, over the weekend, came as a shock to readers in Winnipeg. She’d been diagnosed with brain cancer, she wrote; the column would be her last. “How do you call your husband, who has already lost a wife to cancer? How do you tell your 26-year-old daughter? Or your 85-year-old mother, whose first-born child died suddenly several years ago? I’ll tell you how: You pick up the damn phone, take a deep breath and you say it straight and clear. And then you call your best friend, who was laughing at your birthday table, and cause her heart to crack,” she wrote, with typical candour, humour and grace. “I’ll miss you and this privileged job while I’m off fighting monsters.”

Life after Harry Potter

Fans of J.K. Rowling were shocked to learn in the Sunday Times that the acclaimed Harry Potter author has written a crime novel using a pseudonym. Demand for The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith, which had sold just 1,500 hard copies since its April release, soared in light of the news. Publisher Little, Brown announced it would be reprinting the book, gleefully, no doubt. Less pleased were the numerous editors who had rejected the manuscript: “So I can now say that I turned down J.K. Rowling,” tweeted one. “Anyone else going to confess?”

From crease to cards

He can’t seem to quit Vancouver, but at least Roberto Luongo still knows how to leave a poker table. The beleaguered Canucks netminder, whose middling statistics between the posts has made for a less-than-smitten relationship with the organization, bombed out of the World Series of Poker in style, going home empty-handed after betting it all on a risky flush draw. “I was playing more pots than I usually do,” he told the Poker Listings website. “For some reason, I wasn’t winning any of them.” Not exactly confidence-inspiring words for Canucks fans.

Lost in the barrels

Farley Mowat is alive and spitting. The bearded nonagenarian best known for 1983’s Never Cry Wolf ?has set his eyes on Corridor Resources, the company behind the development of the vast Old Harry oil deposit in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The author and conservationist has donated money and lent his voice to opponents of the project: “We don’t need any more oil than we’ve got,” he told the Globe and Mail. “We’re up to our ass in oil of one type or another—fracking and bracking and the rest of it—and freight cars full of it coming down on little Quebec towns.”

Goddess of the small screen

Betty White is officially a Guinness World Records holder. The busy 91-year-old made the list, thanks to her 65 years as a TV actor—the longest such stretch in history. White is perhaps best known for her role as the hapless Rose Nylund on Golden Girls, which netted her four Golden Globe nominations. But her career has been on an extended honeymoon: In 2012, she won a Grammy for best spoken-word album, and is currently starring in her fourth season of Hot in Cleveland.

Pope nukes luxe

Hey sister, don’t buy that Cadillac. As part of his, er, drive to make the Catholic Church less materialistic, Pope Francis is urging men and women of the cloth to lay off the material goods. In a recent speech, Francis railed against smartphones, cars and other material trappings: “It hurts me when I see a priest or a nun with the latest model car,” said the notably humble Francis. “If you like the fancy one, just think about how many children are dying of hunger in the world.”

Dave Matthews hitches a ride

Emily Kraus and her boyfriend were running so late to the Dave Matthews concert in Hershey, Pa., this week, they almost didn’t stop for a hitchhiker thumbing a lift at the side of the road. Luckily, they did. The wayward traveller turned out to be Matthews himself. The eco-friendly singer was out for a bike ride before the show when he blew a tire, leaving him stranded without a cellphone. The star-struck pair could barely utter a word, so the stranded singer, who offered them dinner backstage and front-row seats to the show, filled the void with tales of the tour and his daughter’s summer camp schedule. The next morning, Kraus, a fan since the age of nine, thought she might have dreamt the whole thing—until she pulled out her tickets, with a note from Matthews: “Thanks for the ride.”

Last exit to reality

Should its mayor have his way, the screwball quirkiness of Madison, Wis., will be officially enshrined in the city’s motto. Mayor Paul Soglin wants Madison to be known as “77 square miles surrounded by reality.” The phrase is actually a take on an insult hurled at the resolutely liberal town by Wisconsin’s Republican governor in the 1970s. Some Madisonians aren’t entirely sure of Soglin’s gambit: “Maybe we should figure out the square footage of the city council chamber and use that,” joked Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce president Zach Brandon.

Jenny McCarthy’s loopy views

Right-wing talking head Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s replacement on daytime TV’s The View will be no less controversial: Actress and former Playboy bunny Jenny McCarthy is also the most famous face of the anti-vaccination movement, who claims vaccines triggered her son’s autism (a widely discredited notion). Barbara Walters, in announcing McCarthy’s new gig, praised her “fresh point of view,” but perhaps Walters should take a cue from the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation: After hiring McCarthy to speak at a fundraiser earlier this year, an outpouring of negative feedback to her anti-vaccination activism convinced them to drop her from the list.

Look up!

Formula 1 reigning world champ Sebastian Vettel, a German driver, took to the air during a soapbox fun race in the western German town of Herten, near Gelsenkirchen, on the weekend.


 

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