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Newsmakers

Rob Ford steps into the ring, Ben Affleck dons Batman’s cape and J.D. Salinger returns to the spotlight


 
Newsmakers

Chris Young/CP

Everybody hates Raymond

Former senator Raymond Lavigne will have a few more months to contemplate his crimes after the Ontario Parole Board denied his application for early parole. “You expressed little remorse and you accepted little responsibility for your criminal behaviour,” Sylvie Parent, one of the two board members, said last week after rejecting Lavigne’s bid to serve only a third of his six-month sentence for fraud. The one-time Liberal MP was convicted in 2011 after claiming more than $10,000 in false travel expenses, and having staff work on his personal property while on the taxpayers’ dime. Lavigne, who has been imprisoned at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre since June, said he was disappointed with the decision, adding that the justice system had “humiliated me enough.” But he can’t complain too much: Like his former Senate colleague Mac Harb, Lavigne still qualifies for a parliamentary pension.

Marsh madness

It was a scene straight out of Jerry Maguire at Montreal’s Molson Stadium last week as the Alouettes pulled off a small miracle. Down two points and with just 15 seconds left in the game, the hometown team looked to be heading to a stinging defeat at the hands of the B.C. Lions. Then rookie quarterback Tanner Marsh stepped up and threw a miraculous 57-yard pass to receiver Éric Deslauriers. The 23-year-old’s throw gave Sean Whyte just 1.9 seconds to kick a 14-yard field goal, delivering a last-minute 39-38 victory that electrified the few fans who stuck around the rain-drenched stadium. Deslauriers told CBC that watching Marsh’s stunning pass made him “feel like a photographer.” “It was such a pretty ball,” he said. “It was just up there forever.”

The sum of all fanboy fears

Warner Bros. shocked Hollywood last week by announcing that Ben Affleck, the Oscar-winning actor and director, will play Batman in director Zack Snyder’s follow-up to the Superman film Man of Steel. The film, planned for 2015 as a team-up for DC Comics’ two most popular superheroes, will pair Henry Cavill’s young, callow Superman with a more experienced Batman played by Affleck. “It’s beyond mythological to have Superman and our new Batman facing off, since they are the greatest superheroes in the world,” Snyder said. The announcement has not gone over well with fans who remember Affleck’s disastrous turn as Daredevil in the superhero flop of the same name.

A Titanic tweeter

Canadian superstar Céline Dion created her first-ever Twitter account last week, with the handle of “@celinedion.” But her emergence on the micro-blogging service got only 28,000 followers in the first day, a middling number for a star of her calibre—perhaps because the only tweets she posted were a quick hello message and a plug for her new album, Love Me Back to Life. As Joss Whedon told Entertainment Weekly, building a following on Twitter requires “a responsibility—this is enormous work.” Dion may be too busy with her musical career to gain followers on Twitter for free.

Toronto’s arms race

Last week, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford fulfilled a childhood dream when he met one of his biggest heroes at Fan Expo Canada: former pro wrestler turned reality TV star, Hulk Hogan. Not only did he meet Hogan, the mayor arm-wrestled him in a crowded InterContinental Hotel conference room. The onlookers—mostly media types—cheered Hogan and booed Ford, who would win the match approximately 20 seconds in. “It was like wrestling a friggin’ grizzly bear,” Ford told reporters. Hogan meanwhile, told the press that the mayor would make a great wrestler (he dubbed the politician “Fantastic Ford”). When asked by a reporter if he believed in the existence of Ford’s alleged “crack tape” Hogan simply responded, “I’m hungry.”

The White House goes to the dogs

Barack Obama has trouble getting his political appointees confirmed, so he has to content himself with appointing a new dog, a puppy named Sunny, as a companion for the family dog, Bo. Telling reporters that Bo was looking “a little down in the dumps inside the house,” the U.S. President expressed his hope that the new dog will help Bo enjoy life more, since he and his daughters are too busy to play with him as much as they used to. Both dogs are Portuguese water dogs.

A Tuff takedown

An Atlanta school bookkeeper is getting international praise for her successful attempt at preventing a potential school shooting. When 20-year-old Michael Brandon Hill—a man with a long history of mental illness—walked into the office of Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Atlanta with an assault weapon and almost 500 rounds of ammunition last week, the school’s bookkeeper, Antoinette Tuff, managed to talk him down. Hill would shoot the floor, but nothing else. In the 911 call, Tuff can be heard telling Hill that she loves him and will pray for him. When he agrees to lay down his weapon, she says, “We’re not gonna hate you, baby. It’s a good thing that you’re giving up.” Law enforcement agents, the 911 dispatcher on the call and President Barack Obama have all labelled Tuff a hero.

The Bicycle Thief: Part II

A savvy Craigslist user can find a wealth of great deals on the online classified site—but Vancouver’s Kayla Smith scored the karmic deal of a lifetime last week. The 33-year-old bartender was coming home from the Pacific National Exhibition one night only to find her $1,000 road bike stolen from its post. After filing a police report, Smith was surfing Craigslist the next day and spotted an especially familiar bicycle for sale, with an asking price of just $300. She quickly called up the seller and arranged to meet. Once she could identify the bike’s custom brakes and stickers, Smith casually asked the man if she could take it for a test drive around the parking lot. With that, she hopped on and quickly sped off—stealing the bike from its original thief. While Vancouver police caution against such a confrontation, Smith was just happy to take justice into her own hands. “On my way home I was so amped I called [the seller] back and left him a really nice voice mail with tons and tons of swear words on it,” she told 24 Hours Vancouver. “It felt really good to do that.”

Swing and a financial miss

New Zealand golfer Lydia Ko made history at the Canadian Women’s Open in Edmonton last week—though she may not be too happy about it. The 16-year-old became the first amateur to win two LPGA Tour events—but because of her amateur status, she had to turn down the $300,000 prize. (The money went to Karine Icher of France, who finished second.) Ko also won the Canadian Open last year, at age 15, becoming the youngest-ever winner of an LPGA event. She’s thinking about asking for an exemption that would allow her to go pro before she turns 18, but deferred to her parents: “They’re the boss.” When pressed by reporters about whether it pained her to leave the money behind—in the past two years, at 14 LPGA events, Ko has reportedly had to turn down almost $1 million in prizes—the young player finally blurted, “I don’t care! I don’t care! I can say that a couple of times more, if you want.”

Chelsea, lately

Bradley Manning, the American soldier sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking confidential U.S. documents, announced in an official statement last week that she is transgendered and would like to be known as Chelsea. “I am Chelsea Manning,” she wrote. “I am a female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible.” The military has since responded, asserting that while it does provide psychiatric care to transgendered inmates in its facilities, it does not provide “hormone therapy or sex-reassignment surgery for gender identity disorder.” LGBT and civil rights groups have come to Manning’s defence, calling the lack of care unconstitutional.

Salinger’s extra-long shelf life

One of the publishing world’s greatest mysteries may have been solved this week, thanks to the authors of a new J.D. Salinger biography. Shane Salerno and David Shields, who spent the past nine years researching their oral history with the co-operation of Salinger’s family, says the reclusive author was far from unproductive during the last 50 years of his life, and was instead working on five new works, which are set to be released between 2015 and 2020. Salinger, who died in 2010 at age 91, published his masterpiece The Catcher in the Rye in 1954, though he failed to release any new work since The New Yorker published a novella of his in 1965. The new books, all reportedly approved for publication by Salinger himself before his death, include an anthology titled The Family Glass, a Second World War novella and a “complete retooling” of The Last and Best of the Peter Pans, the author’s unpublished Holden Caulfied story.

All in a day’s twerk

Miley Cyrus was all too eager to shed her wholesome Disney-bred image at MTV’s Video Music Awards. The 20-year-old pop singer’s performance—which included gyrating in lingerie alongside Robin Thicke (it’s called “twerking,” apparently) and gesticulating suggestively with a foam finger—generated a whopping 306,100 tweets per minute.


 
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