March 2009The Senior Times MonthlyMontreal

Mardi 15 déc 2015

The Senior Times


Montreal’s senior monthly since 1986

Feb ’10



Restaurant Reviews
What’s Happening
Pet Corner


Barbara Moser
Sandra Phillips
Neil McKenty
Howard Richler
Bonnie Sandler
Molly Newborn
Nicolas Carpentier
Barry Lazar
Joyce Blond Frank
Daniel Smyth
Byron Toben
John Udy

Josette still feels the earth move beneath her

Heritage, talent at the forefront

The living history of Union United

HIV/AIDS 'epidemic' crosses generational borders

Dans la Rue kids once on the street back to school…

Montreal pain researcher honoured in the U.S. for …

13-year-old shows how children can help children

And now for a little Canadian History

New level of compassion shown in Haiti relief effo…

Redefining an understanding of pita

April 2008

May 2008

June 2008

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March 2009

April 2009

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June 2009

July 2009

September 2009

October 2009

November 2009

December 2009

February 2010

Shopping smart, shopping green

Sandra Phillips is no shopaholic

Kristine Berey
March 2009

Few people know as much about
purchasing wisely as Sandra Phillips,
known to many as Montreal’s « shopping
guru. » Since summer 1986, she
has combined her feminine intuition,
hunting and gathering instincts
and tireless footwork with a
great dose of common sense, providing
Montreal with its very own annual
buyer’s bible, Smart Shopping
in Montreal, updated every year.

« I learned at my mom’s knee, » she
says of her early introduction to the
art. However, she stumbled upon her
vocation quite by accident.

As program director of a study
group, she booked a speaker who
talked about shopping-ops on one
particular street. « She had a small stapled
pamphlet about a word I had
never heard – ‘Chabanel!’  » This was
a defining moment. When the opportunity
to buy this tiny business came
up, Phillips didn’t hesitate. « I knew
nothing about writing or the book industry
- so of course I said ‘yes’. »

She spent one year doing research
to expand the information, armed
with a map of Montreal and a kid filled
stroller in tow. The rest is history.
The book was an instant
success, turning Phillips into a local
celebrity – to her amazement. « When
I first put it together, it never occurred
to me that this was an ‘evergreen’
book, » she says. Since then,
Phillips has appeared on radio, television
and has written her own newspaper
column. She currently
dispenses retail advice through her

The project, directing consumers to
the best deals in town, continues to be
challenging. « I visit 1,500 stores and factories
a year, » she says, adding that she
does all of her investigations « undercover, »
trying to appear as nondescript
as possible. When « workshopping, » she
looks at price, quality and service. « I
have to capture the essence of an entire
business in a single paragraph. »
Surprisingly, when it comes to shopping,
Phillips is a minimalist, believing
that sometimes less is more. She
operates by the old carpenter’s adage
« measure twice, cut once, » or rather
« know more, pay less. « Shopping is
something everyone has to do, but
nobody has the time, » she says. The
green movement’s three Rs, Reduce,
Reuse and Recycle, can be applied to
Phillips’s shopping philosophy, with
the happy result of saving time and
money. « I buy what I love, use it for a
long time, and get it fixed, » she says.

Knowing where to go is part of the
plan. Phillips says shopping at liquidation
centres, factory outlets and discount
stores can shave 20 per cent off
bills for everyday necessities. Knowing
when to go, as outlined in her book’s
« shopping calendar » indicating the
times of year different items can be
had for the cheapest price, is key.

Nor is it any longer a stigma to buy
used clothing at places like Village
des Valeurs or at « friperies, » Phillips
says. « The entire younger generation
shops there. Buying second-hand,
shopping locally, fixing things, you’re
not using any more of the Earth’s
natural resources. There’s a whole
trend of young shopkeepers opening
stores with a ‘green’ concept. »

What about the « shopaholic » gene?
How does she separate business from
pleasure? « You’re assuming shopping
is a pleasure, » she answers. « If you’re
asking if I like shopping, the answer
is ‘no’ – that’s why I wrote the book. » Labels: Features


Easy cruising with a first stop at the isle of Kalymnos

Barbara Moser
March 2009

We arrived in Piraeus, the port of
Athens, very late after a comfortable
train ride and made our way by taxi
to our hotel, sharing the ride with a
young geologist who lived nearby.
The taxi driver tried to charge us for
two trips and after a long argument,
he left with a nice tip for one trip.

Our room was underwhelming, especially
for 89 euro ($144 Canadian),
measly breakfast included. The next
morning we walked around the picturesque
yacht bay and found a more
reasonably priced hotel for our return
after our cruise. This nicer and
better situated hotel was 55 euro, and
would serve as our base for visiting
Athens when we returned.

The view whose beauty brought me to tears

Our hotel manager told us we could
walk to the port. Unfortunately it took
an hour and by the time we arrived, I
was a wreck! Irwin was fine, though.
We boarded EasyCruise, a British line,
for a one-week tour of Bodrum,
Turkey, and the Greek islands of Kalymnos,
Mykonos, Syros and Kos.
Our cabin had a window, an unexpected
upgrade from our booking of
an inside cabin. Later, we learned we
had probably paid more than most
of the people on board who had
made their reservations through the

All things considered, this was our
kind of cruise: low key, with a lot of
attention given to time spent off the
ship. The ship typically docked between
10am and 2pm and left the
port in the wee hours. This left us
plenty of time to explore and no
worries of being left high and dry at
the destination.

Our tiny cabin was by no means
luxurious, with two side-by-side cots
and a small bathroom, but it suited
our needs just fine and we soon settled
in like campers, happy not to
have to make accommodation decisions
for an entire week.

The first lunch offered was a buffet
that seemed plentiful and reasonably
varied until we realized that it was the
introduction to almost everything we
would eat on board for the entire
week. This was not going to be easy
for a vegetarian, and the portions,
after the buffet, weren’t the largest. I
soon tired of Calamari and skimpy
salads. I was most disappointed with
the lack of Greek foods I have always
loved in Montreal, such as tzatziki and
taramosalata. Clearly this food was
British with a touch of Greece.

The pool was a large bathtub that
we could observe from the interior
dining room. One young man
thoughtlessly dove in head first and
came out bloodied on the last morning
of the cruise. The pool had to be
emptied, but somehow the man got
away without neurological injuries.
Many of the servers and the doctor
were from Russia and Ukraine, giving
the cruise a definite multi-cultural
feel. What we liked most was
the mixture of cruisers – families,
boomers, honeymooners and seniors
from Europe, Canada and Australia.
On the first day we docked at Kalymnos,
which is approximately 100
square kilometres. The view from the
dock of the terraced pastel houses
built on the mountainside was so
beautiful it made me cry.

It was a quiet Sunday and we set
out strolling along the port past the
touristy restaurants (only to return
to one later after searching in vain for
a more authentic one). We walked up
through the serene, winding lanes

One of countless photo-worthy doors

past countless photo ops, featuring
intricate blue and white achitectural
designs on the faded facades. Flower
pots draped their wares over doors,
window boxes and archways. Like
good journalists, we took postcard-worthy
pictures of almost every one
of them.

We returned to the port for a
mediocre lunch served by a British
boomer who had « retired » to the island.
She advised us to hop a bus to
the other side of the island and get in
some beach time, which we did. It
took about half an hour to reach the
smooth sands and crystal clean water
of the little village we had chosen to
visit. At 5 pm we began an hour wait
for the bus back, not having checked
the schedule before we left. The small
bus finally arrived and became more
and more crowded with locals and
tourists as we neared the port.

We relaxed on board that night and
at 10pm the ship began its 24-hour
journey to Bodrum, Turkey, our only
destination that was not an island. I
was excited to be going back to
Turkey, a country we explored for
five weeks, five years ago – even if this
time it was just for one day. Labels: Travel


Why should a woman be more like a man? Sexual differences uncovered

Men and women are different, Susan Pinker says

Barbara Moser
March 2009

« Yes, I’ve paid the price, but look how much I’ve
gained. If I have to I can do anything. I am strong.
I am invincible. I am woman! »

Women who came of age in the early 1970s will
remember the bold mantra of Helen Reddy’s 1972
hit. After all, it was the sexual revolution and we had
stepped into the Age of Aquarius, into the freedom
that allowed us to do anything aman could do. But
do women really want to be like men?

In The Sexual Paradox: extreme men, gifted
women and the real gender gap, Susan Pinker turns
this notion on its head, disputing the 40-year-old
assumption that there are no behavioural or learning
differences between the sexes.

Pinker says her book, an interesting mix of research
and real-life profiles, « tells the story of sex
differences and why we feel the way we do and why
we make some of the choices that we make. »

Pinker’s first chapter describes her coming of age
in the feminist movement of the early 1970s at a
time when she was graduating from high school
and « stepping into adult choices. » As she looked
back to this time, she saw herself as part of a huge
change in what was expected of young women and
what they expected of themselves both in the
workforce and in their educational choices. « The
people of my generation were the foot soldiers of
a massive change in what women were deciding to
do with their lives. We were the ones who really
shifted the entire landscape. »

At the time women felt they could be just like
men, Pinker says. « It was expected of me and I expected
of myself that I would act just like a man. I
would make the same choices. I had all the freedom
in the world. Nobody ever said I couldn’t do
what I wanted to do and it was expected I would
do what a man would do. »

Pinker says that it was « a huge shock » when she
discovered she « didn’t have the same feelings » as
her husband when their first child was born.

« The fact is, we are not men. »
Then how are the sexes different? Where we see
the greatest differences, says Pinker, is at the extremes.
Men are more variable, « more dumbbells,
more Nobels. » She writes that men « demonstrate a
wider range of strengths and disabilities. So there
are more very stupid men and more very smart
ones, more extremely lazy ones and more willing
to kill themselves with work. » Women, she says,
are « more clustered around the central scores, average
and above average. »

Perhaps the greatest difference is what motivates
career choices and the sacrifices men and women
are willing to make to climb the career ladder.
Women, she says, are more likely to choose people oriented
professions and more willing to change or
leave jobs when they threaten to destabilize their
families or infringe on their relationships.

« Over 80 per cent of women will make adjustments
to their careers because relationships are important
to them, » she says, « some deciding to stay
at home with children or find a job that allows
them the flexibility and autonomy to look after
aging parents. They want to have involved, engaging
family lives and they are not willing to give up
their relationships in order to have a career. »

But it’s not all about relationships. A woman, she
writes, is more likely to change careers or adjust
her career « opting for what (is) meaningful for her
over status and money. » She is also more likely to
have a variety of interests while a man tends to
have one passion and pursue it doggedly.

In her book she describes women in high-powered
business and academic careers who give up
the fast track to spend more time with their children
or pursue interests. As expected, married
male academics publish more than their female
counterparts, who tend to put their families before
their published papers. « Research on women
of our generation showed that women our age
have an average of 10 to 12 career interruptions
where men of the same education have two. »

For 40 years, women have paid the price for trying
to be « clones » of men with « huge stresses, »
Pinker says. « Many years ago when women were
so far behind and so excluded, to get what men
had we had to act like them. We had to dress like
them, we had to have careers like them, we had to
make the same choices, we had to work the same
hours, and I think now 40 years later, this can have
huge costs for women and, paradoxically, can be
more discriminatory. If you expect women to
achieve tenure or achieve promotions in their 30s
when in Canada we know that that’s when women
have their babies, that’s discriminatory. »

And their mental health suffers as well. Pinker says
women are much more likely to suffer from depression,
part of the cost of trying to be like men or
worse, trying to « be everything. This is an example
of where biology and socio-cultural issues interact. »
But men don’t have it easy either. One misconception
about biological sex differences is that
they favour males, Pinker says. « On the contrary
there are biological reasons why men have shorter
and more fragile life spans and more developmental
problems and some of this … is because
women have more of the long view and are more
moderate. This ability to invest in your environment
and your relationships actually has a biological
impact. »

This sexual difference in women is what Pinker
calls « the empathy advantage, » giving women, as they
age, more psychological and cognitive strength than
men. « The social connections that women make and
the biology that promotes those connections promotes
a long life and psychological health, » she says.

Pinker’s career decisions have reflected her ideas
about what motivates women to make certain
choices and takemore risks thanmen. « I was a psychologist.
I was teaching at a university. I was very
successful in what I did, and I had started writing
a column for the Gazette called Healthwise, on psychological
problems in children and families. I discovered
it was more fun than my real job. »

Now, Pinker writes a question and answer column
on interpersonal and ethical issues on the workplace
for The Globe and Mail. She gave up her private
practice when she began writing her book in 2002.
She says her book « has a lot to say to grandparents
who want to be engaged with their grandchildren,
to understand them in a more profound way. »

This is especially true of learning disorders. »
Many of them grew up in an era where attention
deficit disorder didn’t exist, or was just on
the verge of being identified. Certainly we know a
lot more about the genetics and the biology of a
lot of these disorders than we ever did before. »

Her research on boys with developmental problems
is encouraging. « Each chapter on men focuses
on a different kind of developmental disability and
how these boys managed to succeed. I’ve had
emails from men who have struggled in their past
and they find it extremely hopeful because I tell the
stories of men and how they manage to succeed
despite these vulnerabilities.

Pinker always comes back to her point. Women
must follow their own biological paths that give
them more pleasure, more comfort and more
meaning. The news for older women is that they
have a definite advantage over their male counterparts.
« Women are living very long lives and it’s
possible that women of 60 have another 20 years
of working life, and they’re not ready to retire. A
lot of them have a lot of life and creativity and energy.
There’s room for second careers.

« Provided women take care of their health, they
have a lot of time and energy to pursue their interests.
Women may want to pursue something
that they didn’t get a chance to do earlier. » Labels: Features


FADOQ looks at quality of life

One year after the public consultations
on living conditions for
seniors, Quebec has officially recognized
FADOQ’s expertise in evaluating
private senior residences.
The Fédération de l’âge d’or du
Québec is the largest provincial
non-profit organization, with a
membership of 250,000, advocating
on behalf of Quebecers over 50.

In one of the largest funding agreements
ever signed between the
provincial government and a nonprofit
organization, the Ministère de
la santé et des services sociaux, the
Ministère de la famille et des aînés
and FADOQ will work together to
the benefit of 80,000 individuals living
in senior residences.

Over the next four years the agreement
will target nine regions including
Montreal where the Roses d’Or
Programis already in place, gradually
expanding the program throughout
Quebec. So far, the Roses d’Or Program
has provided the standards of
quality for private residences to voluntarily
follow, establishments that
were not previously regulated in the
same way as government-run institutions.
As well, it has been publishing
a guide to the residences it has assessed
in each region.

As of 2009, both public and private
residences must be government certified
regarding their administration.
The complementary mandate
now entrusted to FADOQ seeks to
develop a program that will work towards
ongoing improvement of both
residences and smaller facilities. The
existing program is now being restructured
and by 2010, visits to residences
will be carried out by staff
from Regional Coordination and a
volunteer who will assess client satisfaction.

Unlike government certification,
which seeks to enforce socio-sanitary
standards, the Roses d’Or program
will be exclusively devoted to evaluating
the quality of life and the well being
of residents.
Residences that have so far qualified
for the Roses d’Or distinction will
keep this recognition until the end of
the revision process. The Roses d’Or
residence directory will remain available
and be updated on FADOQ’s
For more information call Andrée
Demers Allan, 514-844-6919.Labels: Community


The FOFA Gallery presents a scenic trio

Vitaly Medvedovsky Airport

March 2009
Listening to the Mountains is an exhibition of landscapes
on small panels. The artist, Nicole Bauberger,
is based in the Yukon. This collection of small paintings
depicts the scenic area surrounding her house.
According to Bauberger, she was aiming to portray
« the conversation going on between the dynamic
skies and strong wide mountains. »

Bauberger will also present 100 Dresses, an interactive
residency. Under the watchful eyes of viewers
she will create 100 small paintings of dresses, all inspired
by life in Montreal. Titles may include dress of
slush, dress of the mountain seen between the buildings,
taxi dress, etc. These will be displayed in the
gallery’s Black Box.

In Landscapes, current MFA student Vitaly Medvedovsky
presents a series of paintings depicting scenes
remembered from his childhood in the
former USSR.

Here’s the catch: His family left the Soviet
Union in 1990 a few months before
the country fell apart, when he was only 8
years old. So how much of his work is historical,
and how much is a boy’s whimsical
fantasy? Since nothing remains to size it up
against, we have no way of knowing; the
imagined world of his heritage is more
real, in a sense, than any existing remains
of that fallen era.

These will be showing at Concordia’s
FOFA Gallery, 1515 Ste. Catherine W.,
RoomEV 1-715, until March 13. The gallery is right
next to Guy-Concordia Metro. Gallery hours: Monday
to Friday from 11am-7am.
Admission is free. Labels: Art, Events


Literacy Unlimited

Literacy Unlimited, a community resource dedicated
to the advancement of literacy, offers a free,
bilingual service for adults who struggle with
reading documents or filling out forms. By appointment
only. Call 514-694-0007.Labels: Community, Events


An odd love story at the Segal

March 2009
The Leanor and Alvin Segal centre
presents Tryst, a romantic drama featuring a combination of
seduction, intrigue,
greed, deception and humour.

« I was spellbound when I saw Tryst
performed in New York City, so I felt
compelled to produce the play, » said
Bryna Wasserman, artistic and executive
director of the Segal Centre.

Tryst is the story of an aging playboy,
George Love, who makes his living by
seeking out desperate, love-starved
spinsters. Once the marriages are consummated
he takes off with their possessions.
The play is about his latest
conquest, a drab seamstress, who
works in a Victorian London hat shop.
She falls for his subterfuge at first, but
then the plot takes on unexpected
emotional twists and turns.

« Tryst is a love story of the oddest
sort, » said director Diana Leblanc.
« They are both such desperate people. »
C. David Johnson, who has played
the role of Chuck Tchobanian on the
CBC television series Street Legal,
will play George Love. Michelle
Giroux will play Adelaide.

Tryst is at 5170 Côte Ste. Catherine
from March 8 to 29. For information
on tickets and times, call 514-790-
1245 or visit www.admission.comLabels: Theatre


Musical happy hour is back!

Violinist Andrew Van among performers Photo: Joanne David

March 2009
Make your way into the parlour of
the JMC House Chamber Music
Hall and experience the enchanting
ambiance of legendary evenings in
19th century Vienna.

Jeunesses Musicales is featuring
four passionate chamber musicians:
Andrew Van, violin, Jean Philippe
Tremblay, viola, Audrey Nadeau,
cello, and Serhiy Salov, piano. On the
program are two major works of the
chamber music repertoire by the
master of German romanticism,

In the Parlour with Johann Brahms
(1833 – 1897) will perform at the JMC
House Chamber Music Hall, 305
Mont-Royal, March 18 at 6 pm.
Info: 514-845-4108, ext. 221.Labels: Events, Music


World-renowned poet to speak at Atwater Library

March 2009
« The last thing I expected to end up doing was
writing, » Nourbese Philip said. « What I wanted
to be most of all was a spy, and after reading
about spies in World War II, spying was much
more real to me than writing. »
Philip is a poet, writer and lawyer who was born
in Tobago and now lives in Toronto. Although primarily
a poet, Nourbese Philip also writes both
fiction and non-fiction. She has published three
books of poetry, Thorns, Salmon Courage, and She
Tries Her Tongue; Her Silence Softly Breaks.
Philip was the recipient of the YWCA Woman of
Distinction award in the arts. « The experiences of
Black women and girls are foremost in Nourbese’s
works, as are issues of belonging, language, place
and location, » her nominees said.
Philip’s short stories, essays, reviews and articles
have appeared in magazines and journals in North
America and England.
Thursday, March 12 at 7pm Philip will read her
poetry at the Atwater Library, 1200 Atwater.
Admission is free. Info: 514-735-7344 Labels: Events


Humanists also deserve a voice

March 2009
In her letter in the Gazette, (Sunday,
March 1) « Why do atheists worry
about God? » Sheila Mediena expresses
concern about the Humanist Association
of Quebec’s forthcoming campaign
to adorn 10 city buses with the
ad: « There’s probably no god. Now
stop worrying and enjoy your life. »

She wonders why atheists, who, she
writes, « put their faith in humanity »
don’t « put their money into something
useful for humanity – like supporting
schools for girls in Afghanistan,
instead of polluting our environment? »

Let us set the record straight for those
who connect religious belief and humanitarianism:
There is no correlation.
Humanists are no more likely to be humanitarians
than those who believe in
God. Furthermore, humanists do not
necessarily « put their faith in humanity »
any more than believers do.

To answer Ms. Mediena’s question,
atheists have the right to be « preoccupied »
with the fact that most of the world
believes in God and yet acts of unspeakable
horror are committed by believers.

In the last 50 years, atheists have tried
to soften their message that there is no
god with a more positive approach,
using the term « humanist, » which emphasizes
that we are responsible for our
ethical behaviour and should enjoy life
to the fullest because there is no afterlife.

If believers have the right to plaster
slogans that warn people about what
will happen to them if they do not accept
the Lord – and to let us know
how much God loves us regardless of
what sins we commit – humanists
have the right to let people know they
can take it easy and enjoy life.

If Ms. Mediena is worried about
physical pollution, both types of ads
are equally at fault.

- Barbara MoserLabels: Barbara, Editorial


Browning meat adds taste

Barry Lazar
March 2009

I have a bone to pick with Vikram
Vij, or rather a bone to brown. Vij is
one of Canada’s top chefs. His Indian-
fusion restaurant – Vij’s – in
Vancouver has been a hit since it
opened in 1994. His cookbook practically wafts
turmeric, coriander and
cumin as you turn each page. His
easy-to-make masala – a basic curry
sauce – is worth the purchase on its
own. But Vij does not brown meat.

Browning (turning the food more
than grey, less than burnt)
caramelizes the natural sugars in any
food, whether it’s onions or oxtails.
When you make toast, you’re browning
it. Browning does not sear the
meat and « lock in flavour. » Browning
changes flavour. It makes food
sweeter. Every stew I make has something
browned in it, always the
onions and always the meat.

Vij makes his sauce and tosses in
the chicken, beef, lamb or goat. It’s
very tasty, but it lacks the depth that
browning delivers. I asked him about
this once when we happened to meet
in Montreal. « My wife’s family
browns, » he told me. « I don’t. It’s
quicker to cook without browning. »
Well yes, browning takes time, but
the Flavourguy is after, umm, shall
we say … flavour? This is a major
philosophical position. Do I want
speed or schmecks appeal?

Do you want the kitchen to ooze an
aroma that says « I’ve been at this stove
all afternoon and boy is dinner going
to be great »? Or are you simply after
« Hey, I made this and it only took me
a few minutes »? It’s your choice, but I
know where I want to go for dinner.
So the mitts come off for this one.
While Vij’s recipes are a little long for
this column, you can find some of
them at I like them, but I
brown the meat.

In the meantime, how about an oxtail
stew? You can get the ingredients
at most Caribbean grocery stores. If
you drop into Arawak at 5854 Sherbrooke
W., you get cooking advice,
too. Here’s a variation on their recipe.

For 2 people: Take 4 large pieces of
oxtail, a couple of onions and some
garlic, carrots, potatoes and acorn
squash (as much as you want of the
veggies). Dredge the oxtails in seasoned
flour (I like thyme, salt, pepper,
and dried chilis). Brown the
meat in fat (oil, butter, ghee – I like
shmaltz) in a large saucepan and add
the onions, garlic and carrots. Brown
the onions. Deglaze the pan with a
cup of wine or stock (it doesn’t matter
which, each has a different but
tasty accent – OK, I use red wine).

Cover the pot and put it into a low
oven (around 225F or 110C) for at
least five hours or until the meat falls
off the bone. After the first couple of
hours, pour off the liquid, separate
the fat and return the gravy to the
pot. Check the stew regularly and
add a little more liquid if it gets too
low. Just remember: You are braising
the dish, not drowning it.

In the last hour, cut the potatoes
and squash into fork-size pieces and
add them to the pot. Add whatever
other vegetables you like (red peppers,
leeks, etc.)

You can make the same dish with
short ribs or veal shanks or even
chicken thighs, but if you use
chicken don’t cook it as long.
Now, try this recipe again without
browning. See, you’ve lost nothing
but the flavour.

Barry Lazar is the Flavourguy. You
can reach him at flavourguy@the
seniortimes.comLabels: Barry


Working with and not against the need to hide and hoard

Bonnie Sandler, S.W.
March 2009

A common behaviour of individuals with
Alzheimer’s is to hide or hoard items. Sometimes there is a history of collecting beautiful or valuable objects, like my Swarovski crystals and mini teapot collections. The problem is that memory impairment prevents the affected person from locating the hidden items.
You are fortunate if your loved one has a special hiding place. In this instance, you may be able to find the missing keys. But many times there is no such special place and finding keys, watches, and dentures is a difficult if not impossible task. Trying to find hidden car keys when you are late for an appointment can push an already stressed caregiver over the edge.
There are a few ways to help deal with this behaviour. First, declutter your home. There are fewer hiding places and items will be easier to find in a clean, organized home.

Second, hide valuables in a locked drawer. This includes jewellery and documents. Make a second set of keys and keep them in the locked storage place. Dentures and eyeglasses are difficult since they are necessary for daily living. Reading glasses could be bought in dollar stores but full prescription glasses and dentures are costly to replace. Many caregivers have found objects in the garbage, fortunately before they were thrown down the chute. Make a habit of checking garbage bags. Not a fun activity, but it could save you hundreds of dollars if you locate missing dentures.

Just because someone has Alzheimer’s does not mean that they will not enjoy wearing their jewellery as before. But what do you do if her diamond pin, handed down from her mother, is at risk of being lost? Some families have copies made of irreplaceable or valuable jewellery, allowing their loved one to continue wearing familiar and meaningful pieces. Shopping for new costume jewellery can be a fun activity as well as solving the problem of lost valuables.

If your loved one has a special hiding spot it is not necessary to empty it out completely. Take out what you need, but leave some items behind. Your loved one will continue to hide items there, but at least you will know where to look when something goes missing.
This hiding and hoarding behaviour is common in nursing facilities. Staff is sensitive to this problem and is on alert to notice objects that may seem out of place. Report what is missing. You may notice your loved one sporting a bright red sweater you recognize as not belonging to them. Perhaps it seems odd to you, since red was not a favoured colour. At the same time you may see another resident clutching the decorative pillow from your family member’s bed. If neither patient is disturbed by this, try not to react negatively. You are dealing with many challenges; let this one go.

One daughter, who saw her mother in a different sweater each time she visited, found humour in the situation. Her mother had always been fashion conscious and her daughter felt that her mother was enjoying finding new clothes to wear. She would tell her mother how lovely she looked in her new sweater and felt comfort seeing the smile on her mother’s face.

Comments and questions can be sent to and may be used in future articles. Labels: Bonnie


No doubt about it: three must-see performances

Lina Roessler and Alain Goulem Photo: Yanick Macdonald

Byron Toben
March 2009

The Centaur theatre has mounted
a dynamite production of Doubt,
the Pulitzer and Tony award winning
play. Coincidentally, this gripping
drama comes to us on the
heels of the film version featuring
some blockbuster stars.

To get the feel of this Catholic
grade school gripper, I attended the
movie on Shrove Tuesday and the
play on Ash Wednesday. My purpose
was to analyze the differences in the
live and filmed treatments.
Mea culpa, I should have known there would be
no difference as the author, John Patrick Shanley,
wrote the screenplay and directed the film as well.
Thus, the comparison boiled down to the cathartic
feel of live theatre vs. the
greater sweep and close
ups of Meryl Streep’s
every grimace. See the
stage version before the
film so as not to diminish
the sparse but clever indoor

Lucinda Davis Photo: Yanick Macdonald

The Centaur actors were
forbidden to see the film
first. It is a testament to
the power of a well written
text that Alain
Goulem’s liberal Father
Flynn and Brenda Robins’s austere Sister Aloysius
capture the same nuances as Hoffman’s and Streep’s
antagonists, down to the Bronx accents. Lina
Roesssler as the innocent Sister James and Lucinda
Davis as the mother of the possibly abused boy were
perfect in their pivotal roles. Director
Micheline Chevrier added kudos to her
25-year cross-Canada experience, assisted
by rising star Robin Henderson.

Another must-see play is The Assumption
of Empire, which runs until
March 22 at Main Line. Penned by local
playwright Ann Lambert, hermost ambitious
work spans 30 years in Montreal,
from 1978 to 2008, as she mixes
a personal drama against the background
of momentous world events.
Frequent collaborator Laura Mitchell
stars, supported by Alice Abracen, Lambert’s
real life daughter. Eduardo Pipman, Mitchell’s
husband composed original music for the piece.
They are joined by two vets from Segal Centre, Bill
Croft and Tim Hite. The play closes March 29.
Tickets and info: 514-739-7944 Labels: Theatre


Cuba’s socialism a work in progress

March 2009
Fifty years ago, on December 31, 1958, a ragtag
band of bearded, gun-toting dreamers marched
into Havana and forced the corrupt, Mafia linked
regime of Fulgencio Batista to flee. Revolutionary
and controversial changes followed,
including the nationalization of property and an
end to private enterprise.

Thousands fled, but Fidel Castro’s regime ushered
in a set of social priorities that serve as a beacon
for many who believe in a radical alternative
to laissez-faire capitalism. Still, celebrations were
subdued in Havana this year because of uncertainty
about the ailing Castro’s health and mounting
internal pressure in Cuba for change, some of
which has begun, albeit somewhat timidly.

Canadians are involved to some degree in this bold
experiment, with all its negatives, because we are the
primary source of tourism there. Whereas solidarity
tourism was for years the main source of visits to the
island nation, it is now Cuba’s main source of foreign
exchange. And what do we see when we visit its
beaches or wander around the historic, albeit crumbling,
vestiges of Spanish colonial architecture in
Havana? We see mothers and fathers walking home
with their five-year-olds in the ballet outfits from
their after-school classes. What other country with
similar GDP, population and natural resources can
boast of 30,000 doctors? What other country in
these circumstances has virtually eliminated illiteracy
while offering the basic security of food, shelter,
health care and education for all?

Yes, there has been a price paid, and there is internal
pressure for change. When professors and
professionals would rather be tour guides and
waiters because of tips, there has to be an adjustment.
Salaries will have to be boosted so highly
trained people can afford to do their work.

Raul Castro, the new leader, is more of a realist than
his idealistic brother. Beans before bullets is his
mantra. Among changes he has introduced are the
Chinese and Russian buses that have made a huge
difference in comfort to Havana commuters. Cubans
are now allowed to visit and stay in hotels formerly
reserved for foreigners, and they can have cell phones
and computers. But information is still tightly
controlled and Cubans need special permission to
get Internet access. This restriction cannot last.

Ironically, an end to the U.S. boycott of Cuba can
only accelerate the pace of change there. U.S. President
Barack Obama has other priorities, but normalization
of relations is overdue. When it happens it
will have positive and negative effects. On the plus
side, communication among peoples with differing
social values can only be beneficial. Cuba will have
access to a huge tourist market 135 kilometres away.
But before that can happen the two countries have to
talk and Cuba will be asked to compensate Americans
for property seized in 1962. Hopefully, normalization
will not include the Mafia-run casinos
gangster Meyer Lansky was once planning to line Havana’s
Malecón oceanfront with. (In The Godfather,
Part II, Lansky is portrayed as the mythical Hyman
Roth.) And it would be a shame to see Old Havana
peppered with McDonald’s and Coca Cola signs.

There is something beautiful about how neighbours
help each other in Havana, how Cubans
take pride in their culture, how live music thrives
in the city’s bars and cafés. Cuban ballet is first class,
there are theatres throughout Havana, people
actually talk to each other, and the pace of life
is leisurely. Some of this may well change in the
emerging Cuba.

Other shifts we have noticed: Many Cubans have
had enough of the personality cult surrounding
Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. They want the social
values, and the security that goes with them. They
don’t want a society where people have to skim off
the top, or cover up for those who do to survive. Labels: Editorial


Think movies don’t help shape language? Forgeddaboutit!

Howard Richler
March 2009
The movie Slum Dog Millionaire, which won the
Best Picture award at the Oscars, demonstrates
the power of movies on society, showing how a
boy from the slums of Mumbai can seemingly
defy Indian fate through his own efforts.

Similarly, it can be argued, the movies Deep Impact
(1998) and Head Of State (2003), featuring
Morgan Freeman and Chris Rock as U.S.presidents,
paved the way for the election of Barack Obama.

While the power of films to shape society is oft
noted, their power to shape language is often forgotten.
When Rhett Butler tells Scarlett O’Hara in
Gone With the Wind (1939), « Frankly, my dear, I
don’t give a damn, » it marks the first time the
word « damn » was allowed to be voiced either on
the radio or in a film. Also popularized this same
year is the expression, « Are you a man or a
mouse? » asked of Jimmy Stewart by Carole Lombard
in the movie Made for Each Other.

Many expressions from movies display a cool insouciance
or an attitude of defiance that explains
why they so readily become buzzwords, particularly
for young males. Some examples of such are « I’m
going to make him an offer he can’t refuse, » (The
Godfather – 1972); « Go ahead, make my day »
(Sudden Impact – 1983), and « You’re a funny guy.
…I like you. That’s why I’m going to kill you last. »
(Commando – 1985.)

Also, movie dialogue helps us express ourselves.
Let’s say you want to convey frustration. You could
do no better than Peter Finch’s rant in the 1976
movie Network, « I’m as mad as hell and I’m not
going to take this anymore! » If you want a catchphrase
that explains the need for an ambitious
plan to have a large initial investment, try, « If you
build it, they will come. »(Field of Dreams -1989).
Movie phrases also provide us with shorthand expressions.
In 1996, for example, Jerry Maguire
gave us a pithy way of saying that rather than making
things complicated, one should merely do
what is required: « Show me the money. » Sometimes
new expressions come into our vernacular
from films regardless of the context of the film
being lost. A case in point is Robert De Niro’s line
from the 1976 film Taxi Driver, « You talkin’ to
me? » which is usually stated in a whimsical way.
However, in the movie, De Niro plays deranged
taxi driver Travis Bickle, who taunts himself in a
mirror repeating in a belligerent mantra, « You
talkin’ to me? »

Movies also have provided us with expressions
that affirm our fondest desires. The line « There’s
no place like home » was popularized in The Wizard
of Oz (1939). Thanks to the 1977 film Star
Wars in which Ben « Obi-wan » Kenobi tells Luke
Skywalker, « May the force be with you, » we now
have a secular blessing in our lexicon.

Another mob movie, 1997′s Donnie Brasco, features
Johnny Depp in the title role as an undercover
police officer taping the illegal activities of gangsters.
He is asked by a fellow officer listening to the tape
about the meaning of the ever-repeated expression
« forgeddaboutit » and provides the following analysis:
 » ‘Forgeddaboutit.’ It’s like if you agree with
someone, like ‘Raquel Welch is one great piece of ass’
- Forgeddaboutit! But then if you disagree like ‘A
Lincoln is better than a Cadillac’? – Forgeddaboutit!
But then if something is the greatest thing in the
world, like those peppers – Forgeddaboutit! But it
also means ‘Go to hell,’ like if I say to Paulie, ‘You
have a one-inch pecker,’ and Paulie says, ‘Forgeddaboutit!’
Sometimes it just means ‘Forget about it.’ »

And you thought the TV’s The Sopranos popularized
the term « forgeddaboutit? »
Howard Richler’s latest book is Can I Have a
Word With You? Labels: Howard


Extinct: a wildlife species that no longer exists

Are harbour seals at risk? Photo: Mike Baird

Kristine Berey
March 2009

In the last 500 years, since the first
European settlers began to arrive,
over 30 species of wildlife have become
extinct in Canada. Currently
over 30 plant and animal species are
considered to be « at risk » in this
country, meaning they may disappear
forever unless something is
done to improve their chances of

It is estimated that at least 13 of our
plant and animal species have become
extinct on the planet and at
least 20 others are no longer found in
Canada. Climate change, industrialization,
pollution and the consequential
destruction of the environment
are some of the threats to the
Earth’s biodiversity.

At this time, Fisheries and Oceans
Canada is in the process of deciding
whether the harbour seal population
of Lacs des Loups Marins (Ungava
Peninsula) should be legally protected
under the Species at Risk Act.

Isolated for at least 3,000 years from
harbour seals that live in the ocean,
this particular populationmay number
as few as 100 individuals. In the
past their numbers declined because
of hunting, but now hydroelectric
development of their habitat is the
major threat they face.

When a species is declared to be at
risk, legal measures may be implemented
to limit encroaching development
and effortsmay be under- taken
to encourage the population to thrive.

The public is invited to have a say
in the fate of the harbour seals of
Lacs des Loups Marins. You may
comment on whether you believe
these animals should qualify for protection.
To do so, or for more information
on species at risk, visit or call
877-775-0848 before March 31.Labels: Kris


Filming with a cause

Kristine Berey
March 2009

Since the camera was invented, it has borne witness
to the human condition. During the 10th Action Week
against Racism, the 4th edition of the
Montreal Human Rights Film Festival will present
72 films from 22 countries, continuing the 7th
Art’s tradition of raising awareness among the
fortunate while giving a voice to those who may
not speak for themselves.

The festival, which runs from March 12 to 22,
will open with the North American premiere of
« 8, » co-produced by Lissandra Haulica and Marc
Oberon, who invited eight well-known film-makers
to create a reminder of the « Millennium Development
Goals. » In 2000, 191 countries had
resolved to halve extreme poverty by 2015.

There will be 56 documentaries, 9 fiction films and
7 animated works presented throughout the festival,
including nine recent documentaries from Quebec.
Many screenings will be followed by discussions
with special guests. The works will explore the impact
of civil war on the people of Iraq, the conflict in
the Middle East and political repression in Albania,
Philippines, Chile and Tibet. Women’s and children’s
rights will be highlighted as well as the dangers
facing human rights workers and journalists.

Although Canada is known as a leader in human
rights, it is not without its challenges, in particular regarding
the rights of Aboriginal people. Canada was
one of four nations who voted against the UN Declaration
of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2007.
Not too shy to take a look in « our backyard, »
three Quebec films will follow marginalized or
homeless women in their struggle for survival.
Other works will focus on gay rights, the environment
and the relocation of Inuit families.

As well, a photographic exhibition featuring the
work of 32 photojournalists will be held at
UQAM’s Coeur des Sciences, 175 President
Kennedy, and Cinéma du Parc, 3575 Park. The exhibition
will feature 5200 images from 61 countries.
The vernissage, free, will take place on Friday
March 13 at 6pm. Info:
Tickets for screenings, $7, will be on sale beginning
March 5 at Cinéma du Parc, 514-281-1900
or, and at the NFB cinema,
1564 St. Denis. Info: Labels: Film, Kris


Are we cultivating Dr. Faust’s garden?

Kristine Berey
March 2009

Elizabeth Johnston is fascinated by the potato. Photo: Nicole Ferrero

A rose may be a rose, but a potato can be so much
more. In No Small Potatoes: A Journey, Elizabeth
Johnston transforms the much-loved but seemingly
insignificant spud into a prism that reflects
the social, political and medical concerns surrounding
the biotechnological manipulation of
the world’s food supply.

In her introduction she states that she will explore
the potentially irrevocable changes creeping up on
us, initiated by agriculture and business practices
driven by corporate interests. »Global corporations
are changing the face of the potato through monocrops,
factory farms, patents and genetically modified
organisms (GMOs), » she writes. « These issues
may seem far away from the concerns of most people
today, especially in the Western world, where the
gap between rural and urban communities, and
their respective lifestyles, continues to widen. But
what is invisible to the naked eye can have the profoundest
effect on our daily lives. »

Johnston takes the reader on a journey to PEI,
Saskatchewan, Ireland, Scotland and Peru, introducing
us to « heroes and whistleblowers » who are
touched by issues she raises. These people demonstrate
that it is possible to take a stand in the face of
big business and reclaim one’s voice and dignity.
Genetic modification differs from traditional
cross-breeding practices in that it is done across
different species, producing an organism that has
never existed in nature. Plants are manipulated to
resist herbicides (often made by the seed company),
allowing the farmer to kill weeds without
damaging his crop. They can also be engineered
to produce a toxin in order to fight pests.

The biotechnology industry’s claims are compelling,
especially with the promise of new medicines
on the horizon. An ad by the Council for
Biotechnology Information in Canadian Gardening
magazine read: « Would it surprise you to know that
saving a crop from a virus helped save a community
from disaster? » The industry claims that genetic engineering
can reduce the need for pesticides and obtain
greater yields in areas where crops are difficult
to grow, potentially alleviating world hunger. On the
other hand, Greenpeace, organic farmers and public
interest groups are concerned that the safety of
the technology has not been proven in the long term
and may pose an environmental threat by accidentally
contaminating non-GM crops. Some
examples of this, cited by Johnston, who footnotes
her statements scrupulously, have already happened.

Though proponents say GM foods have been
safely consumed for years, some scientists would
take things slower. « Genetic manipulation of food
ignores millions of years of evolutionary context, »
David Suzuki notes on his website. « It is bad science
to assume rules of heredity acquired after
thousands of years of agriculture are equally applicable
in the infant field of transgenic strains. »

Richard Béliveau, a UQAM biochemist and author
of Foods that Fight Cancer, is not worried about the
safety of GM foods since « no study has succeeded in
establishing any carcinogenic character in these
foods. » But he says in his book that the technology
is potentially devastating to the environment. « In
our opinion, it is imperative that the efforts now deployed
in the production of genetically modified
organisms be limited to a strict minimum in order
to avoid a potential ecological catastrophe. » The
UN estimates that 75 per cent of food crops have
already been lost over the past several decades.

For many the main issue is one of personal choice.
To date, over 70 genetically modified and other
novel foods have been approved for sale in Canada.
Consumers have consistently asked that GM products
be labelled here, as they are in the UK and in 45
other countries. The majority of those polled say
they would not eat such products if they could
avoid doing so. Yet in Canada genetically modified
soy, corn, grapeseed or canola and cotton are grown
and may be present in up to 70 per cent of the
processed foods in supermarkets, including infant
formula, breakfast cereals marketed to children and
the old standby, Kraft Dinner. These crops may be
used in animal feed as well.

Johnston became intrigued with the potato 20
years ago when she viewed it through the lens of
her camera while taking a dark-room photography
course. For years she learned all she could
about what the potato stands for in our collective
consciousness. But it was at an « amazingly informative »
conference organized by the Council
of Canadians on « Science and the Public Good »
that the book took shape. At the conference she
would also meet some of the people who inspired
her to broaden the scope of her research.

« It became less of an aesthetic inquiry and more
focused on health and safety, » Johnston said. « I felt
I had to pass on the information I found, realizing
that something can be done, that it’s not too
late to have a say in how our food is grown. » The
potato, supreme comfort food with associations
to nourishment, folklore and history, has the capacity
to elicit strong imagery and emotions. As a
point of departure in a work that explores the
human costs of a relatively young but revolutionary
technology, it is a stroke of genius, a metaphor
that reveals the writer’s literary orientation. For
any food shopper who has read the book, the
humble potato will serve as a daily reminder to
remain informed and vigilant. Labels: Features


Marriage contracts a good idea for common law couples

Joyce Blond Frank B.A., B.C.L., LL.M.
March 2009
Say « marriage contract » or « common law contract »
and people think, « how unromantic. » Not
so many years ago couples about to marry regularly
entered into marriage contracts. However,
the law has evolved to provide greater protection
to those who are married.

With the existence of family patrimony laws, which
establish rules as to the evaluation and division of
the family home(s), furniture, vehicles and registered
funds between the couple upon death or divorce,
marriage contracts have become less popular.
But what happens when you want to live together
as a couple and not marry, as more and more people
are doing?

As mentioned in a previous article, if you’re not
married and choose to live common law, there is no
right to spousal support upon separation. Also
there may be a question as to what happens to savings
and property accumulated during the relationship.
What happens to the condo you are living
in which is in the other person’s name? How do you
support yourself? How do you protect yourself?

As difficult as it may be to think about an eventual
break up at such a romantic moment, it would be
wise to enter into a common law contract as you
begin a life together. So long as that contract is not
in violation of any of our laws pertaining to contracts
in general, the courts will enforce its terms
should your ex-partner refuse to do so.

What should be provided for in the contract will
vary with each individual situation and will depend
on such factors as the age of the parties, their
health status, their individual assets and savings, the
number of dependent children they have, their income,
their earning capacity, their accumulated
debt load, and other obligations they may have.

In most cases it should include a list of what items
belong to each party, a statement of how expenses
will be shared and under what circumstances that
contribution might change (e.g. birth of a child,
loss of employment), who will own assets that
might be accumulated during the relationship,
who will be responsible for managing the various
aspects of the household. It should also provide
how, in the event of separation, the assets accumulated
during the relationship will be divided, what,
if any, alimentary support should be paid, who will
remain in the family residence, how the contents of
the home will be divided, whether the family home
will be sold and how the proceeds will be divided,
who will keep the car, who will pay the debts.

There is no reason such a contract cannot be modified
during the time the parties are together should
circumstances change.

One always hopes a relationship will last forever,
but in the event that it does end, hopefully the common
law contract can act as the catalyst that permits
the parties to remain friends rather than adversaries
sitting at opposite tables in a court room.Labels: Joyce


Heaps of praise from younger reader

Dear Editor,
I was just looking through the February
issue of the paper and needed
to write to you immediately to say
how much I enjoyed it. Those stories
about seniors sweeping themselves
and others into action to address the
serious issues of our times, the moving
history lesson, the thoughtful editorial,
the unusual amount of space
given to political-economic analysis
from a point of view other than the
Fraser Institute’s… even a paean to
vinyl… wow.
Your paper is a much better read
than any of the mainstream media -
or other local papers. Thanks so
much and please keep it up.
I forgot to mention that I’m not
even in your readership demographic
… early 40s …
- Judith ShapiroLabels: Letters


California Dreamin: A beach, a courthouse, a university and a glass of wine

Molly Newborn
March 2009

Santa Barbara, otherwise known as « America’s Riviera » is only an
hour and a half drive from the massive and traffic filled city of Los
Angeles. Ninety-two miles up the beautiful California coast is a stylish
little community with red-tiled roofs, citrus trees in cozy backyards
and wine vineyards.

Santa Barbara is a picturesque escape
I like to frequent where surf attire
is, was, and always will be the
norm. It is nestled between the Santa
Ynez Mountains and the Pacific
Ocean and lies on the east-west portion
of the coastline.
As you drive up to Santa Barbara
from the south you come across a
pretty little seaside town called Summerland.

Summerland view of the ocean

Yes, that’s right, it wasn’t a
typo. I almost want to move there
just to have my address listed as
« Summerland. »
As a native Montrealer, I truly appreciate
the scene. The main drag of this
sleepy Santa Barbara suburb is sparsely
occupied with restaurants, cafés, wine
boutiques, only one bar that I could
find, and several antique shops.

Just north of Summerland and along
Butterfly Beach…I’m not kidding, it’s
Butterfly… is one of the wealthiest
communities in the United States, the
elegant Montecito. Many celebrities
own property here, including Oprah
Winfrey and Steven Spielberg.

The Four Seasons Resort, the Biltmore
Santa Barbara, sits on Butterfly
Beach. The stunning Spanish colonial
style hotel not only has rooms and
suites but also 12 private cottages
sprawled throughout the hotel gardens.
If you can’t afford the $575 US
for a standard room, there is always
the all-you-can-eat Sunday brunch
buffet for a mere $68.

Classic cars at Woody’s BBQ

State Street is the main street in downtown
Santa Barbara. There is a lot of overpriced
shopping as well as California style
restaurants and cafés. Wine
tasting is a religion here. Several
wineries are accessible by foot from
State St. – all within a square mile.

I typically like to avoid courthouses,
but the one in Santa Barbara is the exception.
The Santa Barbara County historic
courthouse is a beautiful Spanish
colonial-style building built in 1929. The
surrounding sunken gardens host several
city celebrations of Spanish history.

Classic cars and southern California
go hand in hand. The mild climate enables
the vehicles to live long lives. It’s
not uncommon to see cars from the
1950s and ’60s cruising down the Pacific
Coast Highway (a.k.a Highway 1).

I don’t know much about cars, but I can
appreciate their beauty. The Gamblers,
a local car club, hosts a gathering of
classic vehicles at Woody’s BBQ in Goleta
every second Saturday of each
month. Classic car owners ride in style
into the parking lot to proudly display
their manhood – I mean works of art -
to the public.

The University of California Santa
Barbara, UCSB, is at the seaside tip of
Goleta. It is one of the United States’
top universities, not to mention one
of the most beautiful. Framed by the
Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific
Ocean, it is a humble and relaxing setting,
where students stroll along the
beach between classes. The buildings
are modest. There are no towering
structures to take away from the
serenity. Students walking back to the
dormitories in wetsuits with surfboards
in hand are a common sight. I
walked through the halls of the Department
of Mathematics and
thought about how my grandfather,
Leo Moser from Edmonton, had enjoyed
his sabbatical year at UCSB in
Whenever I go to Santa Barbara, I
can’t help but think of my mother,
my very own Saint Barbara.Labels: Molly, Travel


Big puppets reveal a little girl’s bravery

Big puppets reveal a little girl’s bravery

Photo: Jean Albert

March 2009
The puppets are coming! The inspiring prize winning
play Maïta, last performed in French at
the World Congress and Festival of the Arts four
years ago, is being presented in English by
Geordie Productions.
« After watching the French presentation, I called
Théâtre de la Vieille 17 and the Théâtre de Sable
(the play’s a collaborative production) to try to
work out a way to present it in English here, » said
Dean Patrick Fleming, Geordie’s artistic director.

Written by Esther Beauchemin and translated by
Henry Gauthier, Maïta has made a trilingual tour in
several US and Canadian cities as well as in Mexico.
The theme is moving and can inspire the entire family
to talk about children relegated to a life of labour.

« I believe this is an important show for children
and adults to see, » said Fleming referring to the
play’s plot. Maïta, the 8-year-old daughter of a
Southeast Asian puppet maker, is sent by her father
to work in a factory in order to pay off family
debts. His parting gift is Issane, a precious
puppet whose prettiness sparkles in the 1461
pearls that Maïta’s mother has stitched into the enchanting
puppet companion. The pearls represent
the number of days Maïta will have to work until
she is reunited with her father. Every night, she delights
all the other children working in the factory
by revealing the enchanting tale of Issane – the
Princess of Light. The story is also made powerful
by the beauty of the tall puppets that bring the
stage to life.
Given that the play will open on Geordie’s Mainstage
only a few days after International Women’s
Day, the timing has impact. « As the piece unfolds,
Maïta comes to represent a kind of feminine leader
who tells a tale about hope and freedom, » said Robert
Bellefeuille, Théâtre de la Vieille’s artistic director.
Everyone loves a puppet show, and ultimately,
this is what Geordie superbly delivers in premiering Maïta.
The stage is transformed into a world of
spectacle where coloured lights shine on traditional
Indonesian shadow puppets – sure to mesmerize
and entertain children age 7 and up.
Maïta opens Friday, March 13 at 7pm and runs
until March 22 with a series of matinées. Performances
are at D.B. Clarke Theatre, Concordia
University, 1455 de Maisonneuve W. Tickets range
from $13.50 to $16. Info: 514-845-9810.Labels: Events, Nancy


Pope’s reaction to Williamson curious and disappointing

Neil McKenty
March 2009
It is now clear that Catholic-Jewish
relations have been seriously damaged
by the Vatican’s lifting the excommunication
of a schismatic
bishop who is a Holocaust denier.
Vatican authorities claim Pope Benedict
XVI was unaware of the anti-Semitic
attacks that Bishop Richard
Williamson has launched in the past.
Is this claim credible? Williamson’s
diatribes have been in the public domain
for years. In 1989, for example,
Canadian police considered filing
charges against Williamson under
Canada’s hate speech laws after he gave
an address in Quebec charging that
Jews were responsible for « changes and
corruption » in the Catholic church,
that « not one Jew » perished in Nazi gas
chambers, and that the Holocaust was
a myth created so that the West would
« approve the State of Israel. »
Williamson also praised the writings
of Ernst Zundel, the German born
Canadian immigrant whose
works include Did Six Million Really
Die? and The Hitler We Loved and
Why, both considered mainstays of
Holocaust denial literature.
A 2008 piece in England’s Catholic
Herald documented Williamson’s
anti-Semitic record and included a
judgement from Shimon Samuels,
director of international relations at
the Simon Wiesenthal Center, to the
effect that Williamson is « the Borat
of the schismatic Catholic far-right. »
Samuels also said at the time that
Williamson is « a clown, but a dangerous
clown. »
To be sure, the subjects of Williamson’s
controversial views are not confined
to Jews. He has also suggested
that the 9/11 bombings were not the
result of airplanes hijacked by terrorists
but rather « demolition charges, »
has criticized The Sound of Music for
a lack of respect for authority and
has expressed sympathy for what he
described as the « remotely Catholic
sense » of the Unabomber for the
dangers of technology.
A number of strong voices have spoken
to condemn Rome’s rehabilitation
of Bishop Williamson and none
more so than Germany’s Chancellor
Angela Merkel, who reminded the
Pope that in her country denying the
Holocaust is a crime. Several Jewish
groups have suspended all dialogue
with the Catholic Church and, by all
accounts, the French bishops are furious.
Recently the New York Times
questioned why no U.S. or Canadian
bishops had publicly deplored the
Williamson scandal.
It is also curious that the moderate
German Cardinal Walter Kasper was
not consulted in this whole damaging
affair. Cardinal Kasper is the head of
the Pontifical Commission for Religious
Relations with Jews.
Nevertheless, the Vatican moved
swiftly to try to contain the widespread
damage done by the Williamson
affair. The Pope confirmed that
he was looking forward to his visit to
Israel this May. The Secretariat of
State said that Bishop Williamson
must retract his views unequivocally
if he is ever to serve as a bishop in the
Catholic Church. In the meantime
Bishop Williamson has been dismissed
from his post running a seminary in
Argentina and the government there
has expelled him from the country.
To make matters worse, the Pope
named a new bishop in Austria
whose well-known public utterances
are as outrageous – he described
Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans as
divine punishment for homosexuality
and abortion, and the Harry Potter
books as Satanic – as Bishop
Williamson’s are evil.
This appointment raised such a
storm of opposition in the Austrian
Church that the appointment has
been rescinded. The irony here is that
when a bishop is appointed the
diocesan authorities submit three
names for the Pope’s consideration.
In the Austrian case the Pope rejected
the three names and appointed another
candidate so unpopular he had
to withdraw.
There may well be a silver lining to
the affair in Austria. If the Vatican
backed down because of opposition
at the local level, will this set a precedent
for future Episcopal appointments.
At the very least it would
seem that Rome must take more seriously
the views of the local church.
In fact, this would be in the spirit of
Vatican 11, which urged a more collegial
governance for the Church.
Both the fracas over Bishop
Williamson and the aborted appointment
in Austria beg the question
of whether the universal
Catholic Church can be competently
led by a small group of male celibates
isolated in Rome. It is a question that
requires an urgent answer.Labels: Neil


Calling all bike award recipients for 25th anniversary

Nicolas Carpentier

March 2009
In the weeks preceding the holidays, food stocks at
our warehouse fell to an alarmingly low level. In
an explosion of generosity unseen since the ice
storm of 1998, donors came through for the
18,000 who were promised a holiday hamper.
Sun Youth is celebrating the 25th anniversary of
its annual bike giveaway program. These bikes will
be awarded to youth whose actions have had a
positive impact on their communities or who have
shown extraordinary courage when facing exceptional
Do you know of a young Montrealer who deserves
a new bike, a safety helmet and a bike lock?
Send the person’s name and age and what he or
she did to merit a new bike. Please include your
name and telephone number.
Send submissions to Sun Youth – Bicycle Committee,
4251 St.Urbain, Montreal, QC, H2W1V6
fax 514-842-5241 or email bicyclettebike@ no later than March 27.
Fifty deserving candidates will be honoured in
May on the birthday of the anonymous donor responsible
for this distribution. For 24 years, this
donor has allowed Sun Youth to distribute over
1,000 new bicycles to deserving youth. For this 25th
anniversary, former recipients of this award are
asked to contact Eric Kingsley at 514-842-6822.

Good ol’ fashioned home cooking

Shannon Rose
March 2009
When we walked into Fireside, a friendly family oriented
restaurant on the corner of Van Horne
and Victoria, we were showered in hospitality.
The smoky smell of meat cooking was mouthwatering.
The walls were adorned with paintings
of landscapes and orange lighting that would put
any diner at ease. Anyone over 50 will feel like
they’ve stepped back into their youth.

We were seated immediately in a comfortable
booth, with high backs to give the illusion of privacy.
As we were removing our outer gear, we were
presented with a generous portion of tangy coleslaw,
two giant pickles and four slices of rye bread to
munch on while we perused our extensive menus.
Both my guest and I ordered from the table
d’hôte, which includes soup, dessert, and coffee or
tea. We chose from chicken, filet mignon, lamb
chops and burgers, among other offerings. Our
waitress was friendly and catered to our every
need almost immediately.
Both the beef and barley and the chicken noodle
soups were and flavourful – obviously homemade.
My chicken brochettes, done to perfection, were
served with french fries and salad. The home-style
fries, made with real potatoes, were crispy outside
and soft inside. The salad was served with a house
dressing that was both light and savoury. The portions
were so large that we took home leftovers.
My guest ordered the grilled chicken breast with
mashed potatoes and salad. The meat was juicy
and tender. It was well done – but not burnt -
well-seasoned and flavourful.
For dessert my guest had rice pudding that was
thick and fresh. I ordered a baked apple, sprinkled
generously with cinnamon. Both were tasty blasts
from the past. Another dessert option was prunes.
For a good old-fashioned meal, Fireside is definitely
a good choice.
The prices for the dinner special range from
$12.50-$28.95, with appetizers starting at $3.25.
Fireside is located at 4759 Van Horne, corner Victoria.
Call 514-737-5576.Labels: Food, Shannon


Sculpting the bonds between students and seniors

Shannon Rose
March 2009
Students and seniors often have misconceptions
about each other. The
Yellow Door and N.D.G.’s Centennial
Academy are coming together
to break the generation barrier.
« This project came about when I
wanted to match the group of seniors
that I was working with on a weekly
basis with students because I felt that
they were such a dynamic and lively
group, » said Dominique Desroches,
coordinator of the Yellow Door seniors
social club.
The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
gives organizations such as these a
chance to use their resources and tailor
projects to their needs.
« I really believe in the value of intergenerational
programs because of
what it gives to both the students and
the seniors – a better understanding
of different generations, » Desroches
said. « There are a lot of stereotypes
going both ways. »
She says the seniors she works with
were ambivalent about working with
students when she proposed the
project. « They imagined loud, boisterous
kids who maybe weren’t very
respectful. »

Ben Sklieas and Claude Serebrykoff

« I don’t usually talk with seniors, »
says Ben Sklieas, a Centennial student.
« I spend most of my time with teens.
It’s fun getting to learn about different
types of people. Over the past few
months I’ve been forming friendships
with everyone – seniors included. »
The group has been meeting at the
museum at the end of every month
since October. Past art projects include
a still life drawing of an object
that they felt represented them, and a
collage of newspaper clippings, drawings,
and pictures that were important
to them. »The whole theme of the
project is around telling your story, »
Desroches said. « I really wanted it to
be about sharing lived experiences. A
teenager’s lived experience is very different
from someone who has lived in
10 countries and is 85 and retired. »
Desroches explained that while the
students don’t have as much experience,
they can still bring their diverse
backgrounds and personalities to the
project. And she said they have a
great deal to learn from the seniors.
This month, the group members
were instructed to make clay sculptures
of people who had influenced
their lives. Leona Olioff, a Yellow
Door member, said she enjoys the
entire experience. « I love to create
things. It can be so ridiculous, but it’s
wonderful to get your hands dirty.
I’m not really good at following rules
and instructions, but I make something
- and that’s just about the best
thing there is. »
Desroches said that at the first
meeting it was a group of « seniors »
and a group of « students » getting to
know each other. « But now it’s not
really a group of seniors and a group
of students – it’s a group that’s working
together. It’s really nice to see the
barriers broken downLabels: Features


Etiquette equals respect

Ursula Feist
March 2009
« I believe a most serious problem for the
American people to consider is the cultivation
of better manners. It is the most noticeable,
the most painful defect in
American civilization. » – Oscar Wilde
The world has changed since Oscar
Wilde and Jane Austen. Etiquette is
dependent on culture. What is good
manners in one country may be unacceptable
in another.

Talking with one’s mouth full is one
example of obvious bad manners in
western countries. In some countries
you can eat with your hands out of a
communal bowl, and it is expected
that you belch if you liked the food.
In England in a posh house it is
rude to strip your bed – it means that
you do not want to return.
The format of handshaking, kissing
cheeks or hands differs from
country to country.
Flowers taken to a German hostess
must be handed over unwrapped, the
stem covered by a strip of paper.
The politesse du grande monde at the
time of Louis XIV is dead. Blushing
women no longer curtsy before men.
All the same, a certain decorum is
required. Respect for others is imperative.
At a gathering, forget your personal
problems and keep hot subjects like
war, politics, religion and personal finances
to yourself.
Organ recitals listing your medical
problems make unappetizing conversation
at a tea party.
In the meantime the words « please, »
« thank you » and « I’m sorry » go a long
way and make life a lot more pleasant. Labels: Ursula


What’s Happening March 2009


Monday, March 9 from 6-8pm, the Atwater Library
offers a computer workshop on intermediate
e-mail techniques for experienced e-mail users.
1200 Atwater. $15-$20, advance registration required.
Info: 514-935-7344

Tuesday, March 10 from 1-3pm, discover your
creativity at the Creative Social Centre Drawing
Workshop with artist Beverly Zawitkoski, 5237
Clanranald. $10, supplies included. Wear old
clothes. To register: 514-488-0907

Wednesday, March 11 from 10am-noon, the Atwater
Library offers a computer workshop on mail
merge and labels. 1200 Atwater. $15-$20, advance
registration required. Info: 514-935-7344

Monday, March 30 to Friday, April 3 at 7pm,
MonTango offers free trial classes in Argentine
tango for beginners. Everyone welcome, with or
without a partner. 5588A Sherbrooke W.
Info: 514-486-5588 or

Mondays at 6:15pm the Parts In Peace Choir holds a
potluck dinner followed by a 7:30 rehearsal at the
Unitarian Church of Montreal, 5035 de Maisonneuve
W. New members welcome. Info: 514-484-5559

Tuesdays at 1:30pm, the Women’s Art Society
meets at the McCord Museum, 690 Sherbrooke W.
$8 guest fee. Info: 514-737-7268

Tuesdays at 7:30pm, Carmina Choir meets at the
Unitarian Church of Montreal, 5035 de Maisonneuve W.
New members welcome.
Info: 514-931-9028 or 514-843-6497

Wednesdays John Abbot College Sports Centre in
Sainte Anne de Bellevue holds a Karate and Chi-Kung workshop. Info: 514-457-0323

Wednesdays from 11am-noon, Centre Greene
holds a Tai Chi-based movement and stretch class
at 1090 Greene, Westmount. Info: 514-931-6202

Thursdays at 2pm,Centre Greene holds ballroom
dance classes for those with stage 1 and 2 Parkinson’s
at 1090 Greene, Westmount. Bring an able bodied
partner. To register: 514-484-2016

Concordia Senior Non-Credit program offers undergraduate
courses for 55+ at a greatly reduced
fee. Info: 514-848-2424 x 3893

Sundays Pointe-à-Callière Museum of Architecture
and History offers free admission to grandparents
(65+) and their grandchildren under 16
at 350 Place Royale. Info: 514-872-9150

Monday, March 9 at 5:30pm, Congregation Beth-
El hosts a Purim Party at 1000 Lucerne. Come in costume.
Info: 514-738-4766

Friday, March 13 at 6:30pm, St. Paul’s Anglican
Church holds a St. Patrick’s Day supper at 379
44th street, Lachine. $25 Family/ $11 adults / $5
Info: 514-634-1965

Tuesday, March 17 from noon-3pm, the Teapot
Centre holds a St. Patrick’s Day lunch and
horseracing event, 2901 St. Joseph, Lachine.
Info: 514-637-5627

Wednesday, March 18 from 2-4pm, Manoir Clanranald
holds an open house. Everyone welcome.
Also, every Monday there is tea and activities for
all. Please call to reserve. 5201 Clanranald.
Info: 514 577-5060

Saturday, March 24 Academy of Art and Design
will host a fundraiser, Design for Diversity, a gathering
of student fashion designers and models
raising money for charity at Champlain College,
900 Riverside Dr, St. Lambert at 8 pm. $20.
Info: 514-677-6775

Saturday, April 4 noon-3pm, Salvation Army
sponsors an Easter 55+ luncheon at 1655 Richardson.
$15 advance payment. Info: 514-288-2848

Saturday, April 4 10am-3pm, Hungarian United
Church hosts a spring bake sale and luncheon at
50 Graham, TMR. Info: 514-483-6916

Saturday, March 14 at 8:30pm, Royal Canadian
Legion Verdun hosts a St. Patrick’s Dance and
Sunday, March 22 at 3:30pm, an open-house with
music after the parade at 4538 Verdun.
Info: 514-769-2489

Sunday, March 29, the Zoological Society will visit
the Laurentians for sugaring off.
Info: 514-845-8317

Thursday, March 12 to Saturday, March 22 the 4th
edition of the Montreal Human Rights Film Festival
at Cinema du Parc and Cinema ONF.
Info: 514-842-7127 x 225

Sunday, March 15 at 2pm, Jewish Public Library
presents the film God, Man and Devil (Yiddish
with English subtitles) at 5151 Côte Ste. Catherine.
$10/$5 students and members. Info and tickets: 514-345-2627 x 3006

Monday, March 9 at 6:30 pm, Carole Williams of
Trent University speaks on « Puncturing History’s
Blindness » as part of the Speaking of Photography
Lecture Series 1515 Ste. Catherine W., EV-1.605.
Free admission. Info:

Tuesday, March 10 from noon-1pm, the Unitarian
Church holds a brown bag lunch and reading of Alice
Munro. 5035 Maisonneuve W. Info: 514-485-9933

Thursday, March 12 at 7pm, Yellow Door hosts a
night of poetry, prose and music at 3625 Aylmer.
$5. Info: 514-939-4173

Thursday, March 12 at 12:30pm, Henry Mietkiewicz
speaks on Superman’s Canadian cocreator
Joe Shuster at Atwater Library, 1200
Atwater. Info: 514-935-7344

Thursday, March 12 from 7-9:30pm, Economist
Jean-Fréderic Lemay and Michael Sacco of
ChocoSol fair trade have a roundtable discussion
on fair trade at Librairie Paulines, 2653 Masson
(corner 2nd Ave). Info: 514-849-3585

Friday, March 13 10am-noon, Gary Schroder,
president of the Quebec Family History Society,
conducts a workshop on family history research.
$15-20. To register: 514-935-7344

Tuesday, March 17 at 12:30pm, Atwater Library
holds a St. Patrick’s Day celebration featuring Irish
music and a talk by Lorrie Blair of the Centre for
Canadian Irish Studies. Info: 514-935-7344

Tuesday, March 17 at 7:30pm, Frederic
Boudreault speaks on « The Depth of the St. Laurent
and Saguenay Rivers: a closer look at its inhabitants
at Montreal Anglican Diocese. » 1444
Union. Info: 514-845-8317

Tuesdays March 17, 24, and 31 at 7:30pm, Jewish
Public Library hosts « A Kabbalist in Montreal: The
Life and Times of Rabbi Yudel Rosenberg » with
Professor Ira Robinson at 5151 Côte Ste. Catherine.
$40 /$25 students and members for the series.
Info: 514-345-2627 x 3010

Thursday, March 19 at 8pm, David Wilson speaks
on « Evolution for Everyone: How Darwin’s Theory
Can Change the Way We Think About our
Lives » at Oscar PetersonHall, 7141 Sherbrooke W.
Info: 514-848-2424 x 2595

Thursday, March 26 at 12:30pm, Edie Austin,
Gazette Books Editor, speaks on newspaper book
coverage at Atwater Library, 1200 Atwater.
Info: 514-935-7344

Wednesday, March 11 at 1pm, historian and satirist
Sam Allison speaks on history and the environment
at John Abbott College, 21275 Lakeshore, Ste .Anne
de Bellevue. Info: 514-457-6610 x 5167

Thursday, March 26 at 7:30pm, Moshe Szyf speaks
on « The Hagaddah: What is theMessage? » at Jewish
Public Library, 5151 Côte Ste.Catherine. $10/$5 students
and members. Tickets: 514-345-2627 x 3042

Thursday, March 12 at 7:30pm, Trio Résonance
plays Nature and Romance at St. Columba by-the-
Lake church, 11 Rodney, Pointe Claire. Suggested
donation is $10. Info: 514-364-3027 or 514-697-8015

Thursday, March 12 at 8pm, the Concordia Department
of Music presents the Oscar Peterson
Laureate Concert featuring Lucas Haneman at
Oscar Peterson Hall, 7141 Sherbrooke W. $5 /students
free. Info: 514-848-2424 x 2595

Saturday, March 14 at 3pm, St. Clement’s Anglican
Church presents pianist Su Jeon at 4322
Wellington. Info: 514-769-5373

Sunday, March 15 at 7:30pm, Ensemble Sinfonia
performs Wagner, Mahler and Sibelius at Oscar
Peterson Hall, 7141 Sherbrooke W. $20/$10 students
and seniors. Info: 514-848-4848

Wednesday, March 18 to Saturday, March 22
Foundation Arte Musica presents the complete 68
string quartets of Haydn over 4 days at Pollack
Hall and Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. $25/$15
seniors/$10 students. Info: 514-398-4547

Wednesday, March 18 at 8pm, McGill Jazz Orchestra
plays at Pollack Hall, 555 Sherbrooke W.
$10. Info: 514-398-4547

Saturday, March 21 at 8pm, Orchestre Symphonique
de L’Isle performs Chabrier, Chausson
and Piazzolla at Oscar Peterson Hall, 7141 Sherbrooke
W. $20/$10 students and seniors. Tickets
at Admission, 514-790-1245 or Info: 514-848-4848

Until Saturday, March 22, Unwashed Grape presents
The Assumption of Empire by Ann Lambert at
Mainline Theatre, 3997 St. Laurent. $20/$17 seniors
and students. To reserve: 514-849-3378

Until Saturday, March 28, Leanor and Alvin Segal
theatre presents Tryst, by Karoline Leach at 5170
Côte Ste. Catherine. $35/$31 seniors.
Tickets: 514-739-7944

Saturday, March 28 9am-3pm, St. Thomas More
Women’s Club holds a flea market and craft sale at
978 Moffat, Verdun. Info: 514-768-4741 Labels: Whatshappening


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March 2009 – The Senior Times Monthly – Montreal