Feeling a draft
Compared with the practice in the United States, the committee hearings that Supreme Court nominees are subjected to in Canada have been relatively sedate affairs. But finally, we have a judicial scandal to call our own—and it reads like a parody of a Canadian controversy. Last week, Marc Nadon told a parliamentary committee that he had been “drafted” at the age of 14 by the Detroit Red Wings. But research conducted by Puckstruck.com’s Stephen Smith found no evidence to support the claim. In response, Nadon said “drafted” was perhaps not the right word, and it now seems he might, instead, have merely had the opportunity to play for a team affiliated with the Red Wings. Despite this controversy, Nadon was formally appointed to the Supreme Court a few days after his appearance before MPs.
Another princely proposal?
Prince Harry has dated society darling-dance student Cressida Bonas for just 15 months—but if tabloids are to be believed, they are about to get engaged any minute now. Unnamed sources flooded London’s papers this week with quotes like this: “Cressida is ‘the one.’ ” Now, even the respectable broadsheets, such as the Telegraph, are jumping on the “they’re getting hitched” bandwagon: “Cressie is going to marry Harry,” one of her friends told the newspaper. “Harry never stops talking about marriage and children, and she has now got used to the idea. The wedding is likely to take place next year.” Given that Prince William took eight years to propose to Kate, these rumours seem a bit rushed for the 30-year-old prince and his 24-year-old love. After all, Harry served four months of their time together in Afghanistan, and will be away from home frequently in his full-time gig as an Apache attack-helicopter pilot.
Following the bizarre and tragic car chase on Capitol Hill last week, the focus turned not to a police officer or the woman who was shot dead after trying to ram her car through a White House barrier, but a young athletic man wearing nothing but jeans and a Miami Dolphins hat. Matthew Jacobs, a 26-year-old from New Zealand, was out cycling when he witnessed the incident and gave interviews to reporters who were more fascinated by his shirtlessness than his description of the events. One journalist immediately dubbed him the “bro witness,” and the nickname almost instantly achieved memetic status online.
Fossils over fuel
Sometimes you look for fossil fuels and all you find is a fossil. That’s what happened in Spirit River, Alta., when a crew was working on a new oil pipeline and accidentally uncovered the remains of a huge dinosaur skeleton. The area has already been closed for drilling and paleontologists are swooping in to see what’s been found, regretting only that a piece of the dinosaur was chipped off during the process of uncovering it. There is no word yet on what the dinosaur is, or whether it can be used to run your car.
The world’s most-travelled man
Twenty-three years and 190 countries later, Calgary’s Mike Spencer Bown is being hailed as the world’s most-travelled man. The 44-year-old has spent the past two decades making visits to every conceivable corner of the world—learning to drive a reindeer sleigh in Yakutsk, Russia, hitchhiking in Iraq and hunting antelope with the Bambuti pygmy tribe in the Congo. Three years ago, he made news when he turned up in the dangerous Somali capital of Mogadishu. “We have never seen people like this man,” an official told Agence France-Presse at the time. “He said he was a tourist; we couldn’t believe him. That makes him the first person to come to Mogadishu only for tourism.” Apparently, he wanted to see the Somali beaches. “I’ve had no ‘down time,’ ” Bown told the Calgary Sun upon completing his odyssey last week. “Every day of my adult life has been adventure, and for this I feel very grateful.”
One dissatisfied customer
Andrey Melnichenko, the Russian billionaire, wasn’t satisfied with the paint job on his yacht, so he did what you do when you get a bad paint job: He sued the contractor for $100 million. Melnichenko’s suit against Dulux, the Dutch company he hired to paint his yacht, includes “punitive damages,” as well as the cost of renting another boat while his current ship is getting another makeover. The huge yacht cost $350 million and looks like a James Bond villain’s lair, so it takes a quite a while to paint.
Siri, who are you?
You already know Siri, the soothing yet insistent iPhone voice who tells you everything you need to know—even if you’re Zooey Deschanel. Well, there’s a real human voice behind it, and though Apple didn’t want us to know who it was, CNN found her: It’s Susan Bennett, an Atlanta voice actor who recorded all the words that are used to create Siri’s helpful hints. Apple is so secretive about the source of its mascot that it refused to confirm her identity, and CNN had to rely on anonymous sources to state that Bennett is, in fact, Siri.
Tell us what you really think
Eighty-nine-year-old Audrey Tobias, a Second World War veteran and peace activist, is the latest challenge to Canada’s census. Tobias is facing charges of refusing to fill out the 2011 short-form census—not because she necessarily objects to the idea of a mandatory census, but because the software used to process census data was purchased from Lockheed Martin, the U.S. defence contractor. Tobias could, theoretically, be sentenced to a short prison term, but is more likely to be fined. (After eliminating the long-form census in 2010, the Conservatives promised to remove the threat of prison from the short-form census, but never got around to doing so.) Even then, she says she won’t pay. In fact, Tobias thinks it should be the Harper government facing the courts. “Are they going to put a little 89-year-old in jail? Well, let them,” she told the Toronto Star. “Shouldn’t the federal government face the same courts for killing the long-form census?”
After winning a second Olympic medal in Vancouver in 2010, Canadian mogul legend Jennifer Heil took up a new challenge in retirement: She slapped down $25,000 of her own money and pledged to raise $1 million over five years for Because I Am a Girl, an initiative to foster girls’ education in the developing world. In typical fashion, she exceeded her goal by two years. Something as simple as a water supply at school can change a girl’s life, Heil found. “One of the main barriers for girls not going to school is they are in charge of fetching water every day,” she says. “If they can go to school and come home with water, that had a huge impact on the number of girls in school.”
Hannah and her cigars
Nobody tells Woody Allen to change his movies, and certainly not the government of India. The director’s new film, Blue Jasmine, had its Indian release held up over the fact that some of the characters are shown smoking; India has a law that, when such a scene takes place, there must be an anti-tobacco disclaimer superimposed over the picture. Allen cancelled the distribution deal because he feels that “when the scroll comes, attention goes to it rather than the scene.” And yet he has no problem with subtitles.
No soup for Scalia
Justice Antonin Scalia, the controversial and conservative U.S. Supreme Court judge, has opened up in a candid interview with New York magazine. In addition to discussing his views on the court and the U.S. Constitution, Scalia ruminates aloud on the Internet, homosexuality (he suspects some of his friends are gay, but none have ever said so) and the Devil (whose existence he believes in). He is also worried about the coarsening of pop culture. “You can’t go to a movie—or watch a television show, for that matter—without hearing the constant use of the F-word—including, you know, ladies using it,” he tells the magazine. Seinfeld is apparently more his kind of entertainment. “In fact, I got some CDs of Seinfeld,” he explains. “The Nazi soup kitchen? No soup for you!”
Live from New York, it’s self-deprecation!
Although she had the perfect platform, Miley Cyrus avoided mocking her new nemesis Sinéad O’Connor while hosting Saturday Night Live this past weekend. The two have been locked in a feud since O’Connor published an open letter advising the young pop star to tone down her behaviour. While Cyrus poked fun at her own provocative “twerking,” she neglected to re-enact O’Connor’s infamous 1992 SNL appearance, in which the Irish musician tore apart a photo of Pope John Paul II.