It was Warrant Officer Russell Arsenault’s day to be honoured for service in Afghanistan, but it was his two-year-old daughter’s moment in the sun when she decided to stroll the aisle at a presentation ceremony at Rideau Hall and talk loudly to some of the assembled troops. Even the Governor General realized that young Rose Arsenault was stealing the show. So Michaëlle Jean stopped her speech, approached the little girl and asked, “Who’s your daddy?” After Rose was back in her seat, her proud papa received the Meritorious Service Medal.
And because he can see Canada from his house . . .
When Prime Minister Vladimir Putin banned the seal hunt in his native Russia, he won the heart of PETA spokesperson Pamela Anderson. After learning about his “fondness for animals,” she sent Putin an affectionate letter asking him to refuse seal-pelt imports from Canada. Meanwhile, Brooke Shields got no love from PETA after having a Danish mink coat made especially for her. A PETA blogger called her a “fur pimp,” but Shields was unapologetic: “I will wear the fur garment when I follow my children to school, when I drink coffee and when I sleep.”
No sex please, we’re athletes
England coach Fabio Capello has reportedly banned from South Africa Britain’s infamous “wives and girlfriends,” whom he once labelled a “virus,” and whose boozy antics were blamed for derailing the team’s chances in Germany. The England squad’s also been hit with a “sex ban” to ensure they’re “bursting with energy this time around.” Spy cams will enforce it. But hard-liner Capello’s additional rule may yet spark a WAGlash, encouraging those diamond-drenched dames to hoof it to South Africa. With haste. With wives grounded, after all, why the need for a sex ban?
Too hot to work?
If Debralee Lorenzana is right, there’s a new kind of workplace distraction besides phone calls and emails: overly hot staff. She’s suing Citibank for allegedly firing her for being too sexy. The bank says it terminated the brunette, who wears Zara turtlenecks, pencil skirts and suits “solely” for “performance-based” reasons; Lorenzana says she was asked to dress differently. Her new employer, Chase Manhattan Bank, is now complaining that her speaking out reflects badly on the banking industry. Her response: “Enough is enough.” Or too much is too much.
The cost of not doing business
When it comes to Frank Stronach, investors in Magna International can’t live with him, or, apparently, afford to live without him. Despite years of chafing against his iron grip on the auto parts giant he founded (not to mention the tens of millions in consulting fees he takes home annually), some big institutional investors are now blasting the $863-million deal that Magna recently struck to buy out Stronach’s special voting shares. The Canada Pension Plan and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan have called the deal’s hefty price tag “unreasonable” and “fundamentally unfair.” On June 28, shareholders will vote on just how badly they want to wrest control of Magna from his hands.
Fall of an umpire
In less than 24 hours, Jim Joyce went from zero to . . . well, fallible human being, in the eyes of Detroit Tigers baseball fans. The veteran major league umpire found himself in the crosshairs last week after he blew a call at first base that robbed Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga of a rare perfect game (no runners on base through nine innings). But following a tearful post-game apology—“There’s nobody that feels worse than I do”—he was back on the field the next night shaking Galarraga’s hand in front of a sympathetic crowd. Baseball commissioner Bud Selig has said Joyce’s botched call will stand, but that the league is considering widened use of instant video replays in the future, making for a potentially more accurate, if slightly less edifying, game.
Did I say morons? I meant fine corporate citizens.
James Cameron knows his way around robotic submarines and deep-sea operations. Just ask the soggy crews that spent hours submerged during the filming of Titanic and The Abyss, or on one of his undersea documentaries. So it’s not surprising that Cameron bristled after BP apparently refused his offer to help fight the massive oil spill in the Gulf. Speaking at a tech conference, he called BP executives “morons” who “don’t know what they’re doing,” reflecting many Americans’ current opinion of the oil giant. He has since softened, telling Larry King there are “good engineers out there.” But he’s pushed for independent monitoring of the catastrophe, versus relying on BP’s grainy video feed from the sea floor. It’s a safe bet that if he got the job, the world would get a much more revealing picture of what’s really going on a mile beneath those iridescent waves.
A Wulff in name only
Angela Merkel has named Christian Wulff new German president after the shock resignation of Horst Köhler. Merkel was forced to tap Wulff, mocked by media as every mother’s favourite son-in-law, over her top pick, popular Labour Minister Ursula von der Leyen, a physician by training; her party’s powerful, conservative male faction couldn’t stomach the idea of the country being led by two Protestant women—though gender and religion, some have reported, weren’t the issue. Wulff has led his northern state successfully since 2003, “largely by pursuing middle-of-the-road policies that offend no one.”
Only devoted dog lovers, in this case rocker Lou Reed and his artist wife Laurie Anderson, could dream up a musical program for canine ears only. The idea was sparked by a conversation Anderson had with the cellist Yo-Yo Ma. The result, heard at Sydney’s famous Opera House last weekend, was 20 minutes of beats, whale sounds and whistles that had owners listening mostly to silence while their mutts wagged their tails and howled with joy.
Batting a hundred
About the only thing longer than Kamyar “Andy” Jahanrakhshan’s name these days is the list of charges against him: Vancouver police have accused the 30-year-old of more than 100 offences, including obstructing police and justice, fraud, possession of stolen credit cards, stolen property and possession of an instrument for forging credit cards. Jahanrakhshan posed as a police investigator and accumulated hundreds of thousands of dollars from banks in Britain, Abu Dhabi and Australia. His arrest has been a long time coming: last summer he escaped capture after a dramatic boat chase in Port Moody, B.C.
She couldn’t write this stuff
Legendary journalist Helen Thomas, 89, who covered Washington over five decades (and 10 presidents), is “retiring” after a YouTube video surfaced of her making controversial statements outside a Jewish Heritage Celebration at the White House in May. In the clip, a minute-long close-up of Thomas’s heavily rouged and wrinkled face, she says Israel “should get the hell out of Palestine” and “go home” to “Poland, Germany . . . America, and everywhere else.” Thomas, whose parents are Lebanese immigrants and whose brazen reporting style was lauded in a recent film about her, apologized after being widely rebuked. She was still “fired” from speaking at a high school graduation.
What not to wear
Embattled Japanese PM Yukio Hatoyama has resigned—sunk, in part, by a bad shirt. Hatoyama donned the garish, Lego-hued shirt to a spring cookout, a last-ditch effort to reach out to everyday voters. It fell flat. His already dismal approval rating plummeted nine points, to just 24 per cent. The shirt, “last seen whooping it up on the Arsenio Hall show,” as a blogger put it, was symbolic, it seems, of everything wrong with Japan’s feckless PM. “His ideas and philosophy are old,” fashion critic Don Konishi told CNN. “Japan is facing a crisis and we can’t overcome it with a prime minister like this.” His replacement, Naoto Kan, an activist lacking the blue blood of Japan’s last four PMs, has cast himself as a “salaryman’s son with no special connections.” And, let’s hope, no special shirts.
Can’t keep a bigmouth quiet
Deported cannabis advocate Marc Emery is blogging about life behind U.S. bars. The food at FDC SeaTac is “tasty,” and “the guys”—wowed by pics of him with ZZ Top and Tommy Chong—cool. Last week, he stood up to a white supremacist, and slept through the night for the first time, thanks to an eye mask jerry-rigged with a sock and a twist tie. “There’s lots to be thankful for, I suppose,” he wrote. Then his wife, Jodie, posted their last phone call to the Cannabis Culture website as a podcast—an apparent prison no-no. As punishment, he’s spending the week in solitary.
Alanis Morissette gets hitched
Surrounded by family, Alanis Morissette wed fellow activist and musician MC Souleye in a secret ceremony in the couple’s L.A. home. Her groom, a rapper, reportedly acquired his name from a spirit guide, who whispered “souleye” in his ear while he was in a trance. No, it did not rain on her wedding day.