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Sunday Newsletter 2000-17Su.

October 22, 2000.

Jazz musicians and skyscrapers, suicides and land mines, extravagant East Indian architecture and 25-year-old music, giant lakes and the newest Stanley Cup winners are all featured in this week's newsletter. So sit back, get comfy, and enjoy the read.



How did Quebec's second largest natural lake, the Manicouagan Reservoir, achieve its almost circular shape?

Answer near the bottom.



Maryjane "Jane" Bunnett.

Jane Bunnett was born in Toronto, Ontario, on October 22, 1955. A world renowned jazz musician, Jane originally studied for a career as a classical pianist. At 20 she steered her musical talents towards jazz and learned to play both the flute and soprano saxophone.

In 1983 she formed a band with her husband, Larry Cramer. This band benefited greatly with the inclusion of noted musicians Don Pullen and Dewey Redman. The band gained international acclaim and a recognition of her talents. Her first release, entitled "New York Duets", featured Pullen and was produced by Cramer.

Bunnett released some highly acclaimed works in the late '80s and early '90s. One of Bunnett's earlier works, the 1992 "Spirits of Havana", won for her the Canadian Juno Award for "Best Jazz Release". Further recognition came from the "All Music Guide", according to whom this title belongs amongst the top 300 jazz releases of all time!

Bunnett's relationship with the island of Cuba, and its musical heritage, began well before that release. She and her husband had travelled there frequently causing her to identify more and more with Cuban rhythms. Some of her other releases, like "The Water is Wide", reflected her ongoing interest in contemporary jazz, with her last five releases showcasing their Latin roots. The latest two of her discs were the products of her formation of "Jane Bunnett and the Spirits of Havana" in 1997, with the most recent of these two releases being the "Ritmo + Soul" production.

She appears tonight October 22, 2000, at the Calumet Cafe in Buffalo, New York, then is travelling west to appear in a free concert at Ghriardelli Square's west plaza area, where she will be joining up with other jazz aficionados at the San Francisco Jazz Festival on October 28, 2000. Bunnett and her band will then travel north for a show in Seattle, Washington, on the next night during that city's "Earshot Jazz Festival" to be held at the "On the Boards Club".

Bunnett is an active supporter of the Canadian initiative that is calling for an international ban on land mines. Even though she has to deal with the demands of the road during her tours, she likes to engage her audiences in dialogues with whom she shares her views. This is her way of promoting awareness to the damage these mines cause world wide.



Did you know that the group Mines Action Canada (MAC) is the Canadian component of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL)?

Founded in 1994, MAC is part of a coalition of Canadian-based support groups that represent a wide range of concerns on this topic. Their faction is committed to "fighting the menace of land mines". While working to promote the altruistic merits and benefits associated with ridding the world of these land mines (their foremost priority), they also attempt to negotiate ways to find the most humane, cost effective and expedient way to control these weapons. Their manifesto is below:

Objectives of Mines Action Canada:

At the national level Mines Action Canada, through public outreach, policy development, research and dialogue with government, private citizens and other parties, will:

1. Continue to press for legislation in Canada of a total ban on the use, production, stockpiling, sale, transfer or export of anti-personnel land mines, including transfer to the USA, and the destruction of existing stockpiles;

2. Contribute to the development of Canadian policies and initiatives to provide aid and assistance to multilateral and local humanitarian mine clearance activities. These would include multilateral activities such as support of the Cambodia Mine Action Centre and other UN initiatives, as well as any unilateral activities which Canada may undertake with respect to humanitarian mine clearance and building clearance capacities at the local levels (indigenous clearance capacities);

3. Contribute to the development of Canadian policies and initiatives to increase support for and participation in, unilateral, bilateral, multilateral and NGO programs providing assistance for the rehabilitation of the victims of land mines.

4. Provide support to member organizations and to others on specific issues related to AP mines;

5. At the international level, through participation in the International Campaign to Ban land mines (ICBL) and through exchange of information, work with the ICBL and other parties to achieve a global ban on anti-personnel mines at the earliest time possible.

More information can be obtained by contacting them at:

Mines Action Canada
1210-1 Nicholas Street
Ottawa ON K1N 7B7

Phone: 1-613-241-3777
Fax: 1-613-244-3410
E-mail: info@minesactioncanada.com
Web: this link



The Skyscraper.

The following story, out of New York, started me wondering which are the tallest skyscrapers in Canada. I will try to define the differences between these "exclamation points" of our cities' financial focal centres, and the so-called "free standing structures", and edifices accorded the status of being mere buildings.

First, a story of a hapless man.


Man Jumps off Empire State Building.

19-year-old Sylvain Laverriere of Montreal travelled to New York earlier this month, apparently with the intent to end his life after an apparent break-up with his girlfriend.

Laverriere plunged 65 stories to his death after yelling to a security guard, "I don't want to live any more!" He was able to climb over tall barriers on the 86th floor, which contains an observation deck. With almost two hours until closing time, he managed to elude security and ignored the pleas of the others on the deck, yelling out his exclamation before jumping.

He fell 65 stories before hitting an outcropping at the 21st floor.

It had been 12 years since the last suicide from this former tallest structure in the world (381 metres or 1250 feet). All told, there have been some thirty suicides from this pinnacle of 1931 architecture over the years. The Empire State Building remained the world's tallest until 1972-3 when the World Trade Center Towers, also in New York City, were completed.


A skyscraper is a building of "well-above-average height" with useable stories and has self-supporting skeletal structures. There is no fixed height at which buildings qualify as skyscrapers, but those higher than 40 metres (130 feet) or 10 stories, have traditionally been termed skyscrapers.

Skyscrapers are distinguished from other edifices such as the CN Tower in Toronto which, at 553 metres (1815 feet) currently ranks as the world's tallest free-standing structure. This tower is not officially designated as either a building or a skyscraper, being built primarily for telecommunications purposes. It is now a major tourist attraction. The site includes rides, exhibits, stores and restaurants.

Canada's ten tallest skyscrapers:

1. First Bank Tower in Toronto, 287 metres/943 feet.
2. Scotia Plaza in Toronto, 278 metres/901 feet.
3. Commerce Court West in Toronto, 239 metres/784 feet.
4. Canada Trust Tower in Toronto, 226 metres/740 feet.
5. Toronto Dominion Bank Tower in Toronto, 222 metres/727 feet.
6. Petro-Canada Centre, West Tower, in Calgary, 210 metres/689 feet.
7. Tour du 1000 de la Gauchetiere in Montreal, 204 metres/669 feet.
8. Tour IBM-Marathon in Montreal, 198 metres/650 feet.
9. Bankers Hall in Calgary, 197 metres/645 feet.
10. Place Ville Marie (Royal Bank) in Montreal, 192 metres/630 feet.

Of the top 50 skyscrapers in Canada, 19 are located in Toronto, 15 in Calgary, 10 in Montreal, 5 in Vancouver (Harbour Centre being the tallest at 147 metres/481 feet), and 1 in Edmonton (Manulife Place which is 146 metres/478 feet).

All of this will probably change by the end of the decade. Construction of "The Centre of India Tower" is scheduled to begin next month. This mammoth 224-story, 677 metre-high (2222 feet) pyramid-shaped building in Katangi, India, is being financed by, and for, the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It will be the new world headquarters for his religious sect. (The Maharishi was the Beatles former spiritual advisor.) Completion is expected in 2008.



So what were some of the number-one songs in Canada, 25 years ago?

"Pinball Wizard", by Elton John.
"Sister Golden Hair", by America.
"Love will Keep us Together", by The Captain and Tennille.
"Listen to what the Man Said", by Paul McCartney.
"The Hustle", by Van McCoy (one hit wonder status).
"Jive Talkin'", by The Bee Gees.
"Rhinestone Cowboy", by Glen Campbell.
"Get Down Tonight", by K.C. & The Sunshine Band.
"Ballroom Blitz", by Sweet.
"Fame", by David Bowie.
"Bad Blood", by Neil Sedaka.
"Island Girl", by Elton John.
"That's the Way I Like it", by K.C. & The Sunshine Band.

Not a single Canadian group in the lot. How times have changed. We'll check back next week with 20 years ago.



Canadians in Hell.

Two guys from Calgary die and wake up in hell. The next day the devil stops in to check on them and sees them dressed in parkas, mittens and toques warming themselves around the fire. The devil asks them, "What are you doing? Isn't it hot enough for you?"

The two guys reply, "Well, you know, we're from Canada, the land of snow, ice and cold. We're just happy for a chance to warm up a little bit, eh."

The devil decides that these two aren't miserable enough and turns up the heat. The next morning he stops in again and there they are, still dressed in parkas, toques and mittens. The devil asks them again, "It's awfully hot down here, can't you guys feel it?"

Again the two guys reply, "Well, like we told ya yesterday, we're from Canada, the land of snow, ice and cold. We're just happy for a chance to warm up a little bit, eh."

This gets the devil a little steamed up and he decides to fix these two guys. He cranks the heat up as high as it will go. People are wailing and screaming everywhere. He stops by the room with the two guys from Canada in it and finds them in light jackets and bucket hats grilling sausages and drinking beer. The devil is astonished. "Everyone down here is in abject misery, and you two seem to be enjoying yourselves."

The two Canadians reply, "Well, ya know, we don't get too much warm weather up there in Calgary so we've just got to have a cook-out when the weather's *this* nice, eh."

The devil is absolutely furious. He can hardly see straight. Finally he comes up with the answer. Since the two guys love the heat because they have been cold all their lives, the devil decides to turn all the heat off in hell.

The next morning the temperature is below zero and icicles are hanging everywhere. People are shivering so bad that they are unable to do anything but wail, moan, and gnash their teeth. The devil smiles and heads for the room with the two Canadians. He gets there to find them back in their parkas, toques, and mittens. Now they are jumping up and down, cheering, yelling and screaming like mad men!

The devil is dumbfounded. "I don't understand. When I turn up the heat you're happy. Now, it's freezing cold, and you're still happy. What is wrong with you two?"

The two look at the devil in surprise. "Well, don't you know? If hell freezes over, it must mean the Calgary Flames have won the Stanley Cup, eh."

Thanks again to Cathy for her contribution to your newsletter with this week's joke. Don't forget to visit her Web site at this link to see what one can do in creating a personal Web site with lots of time, energy and flair. She's done very well. Browse around it a bit.



Last week I wrote a story on bipolar disorder. When I can I try to include with my stories a link to a site where you can find more information than I have space to feature here. We didn't do that last week, but an alert reader told us that an excellent site can be found at this link.



From a meteorite collision with the earth, millions of years ago.


Next week some birthday greetings go out and I try and deal with my first Hallowe'en in a townhouse complex. Thank God for Costco and their candy deals. I think we've spent more money this year than the previous five combined. Until then....



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