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Sunday Newsletter 2000-20Su.

November 12, 2000.

Issue 20 already! I cannot believe it. I hope everyone has enjoyed the weekly invasions by Craig, Michael B. and myself. If you have enjoyed them, but have not been around since the beginning, please visit our still-evolving Web site. It has all our newsletters archived (honest, even this one). Much more will be coming to this site in the future (including a much-improved look). You can find it at this link.

I also want to tell you about our next giveaway which begins next issue. I will ask the questions, you will send in your answers, and Craig will mark your score off. Anyone answering all the questions incorrectly will have to deal with our editor, Mike, who will probably arrive at your doorstep and try to tutor you on Canadian history.

This promises to be an exciting time (not the part about the irate editor) and, by forwarding this newsletter to anyone who you feel may enjoy its contents, you can help others enjoy the benefits. We already have subscribers all over the world, so if you think that perhaps Uncle Zeke back in the "old country" would like it, send it to him. That way everyone can become a direct subscriber by following the instructions on the Web site at this link.

Once everyone is hooked there will be some advertising on our Web site, but we don't plan for that in the free newsletter! Once you have been brainwashed you will follow the links to these other sites, spend millions of dollars, and make the three of us very rich. At that point we will then proceed to capture more business by making the newsletter available on other planets. This will be done by financing our own space program with the proceeds. Once this is up and running, every subscriber can take a free one-way ride to the next port of call. Either that scenario happens or, more likely, I'll finally be able to pay off the cost of the video we gave away two months ago. Diners Club sure is relentless! Then you too can feel a sense of growing importance in having helped in shaping Canada's future. Simply forward this e-mail.

Thanks. John.



This disaster, which has become known as "The Saguenay Deluge", shocked Canada. What was it?

Answer near the bottom.



Margaret Eleanor Atwood ("Peggy").

This novelist, poet and literary critic was born in Ottawa, Ontario, on November 18, 1939. Atwood is one of Canada's most well-known, respected and prolific novelists.

She studied at the University of Toronto from 1957-1961, winning the E.J. Pratt medal for poetry in 1961. Atwood then moved on to Ratcliffe College at Harvard, in the United States. Influenced there by her professors, Atwood directed her talents toward Canadian productions of Shakespeare's works, as broadcast by the CBC during the mid-sixties. She won the Governor General's award for her 1966 work entitled "The Circle Game".

In 1969 she published the novel "The Edible Woman", in which she uses the vehicle of "women's alienation in our society" to mirror her recurrent use of the same theme as echoed in her poetry. In 1972 she published "Survival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature". This was considered by many to be the most startling book ever written about Canadian literature.

Over the years her prolific production has garnered many honours. There are too many to list in a limited format such as this newsletter, but they number nearly 100 major awards and dozens of honorary doctorates and other awards from around the world, including the 1995 Swedish International Humorous Writers Award.

Her latest novel, "The Blind Assassin", is vintage Atwood. It opens with the words, "Ten days after the war ended, my sister Laura drove a car off a bridge." This novel within a novel tells the story of Laura's sister, Iris, and captures magnificently the style and feel of the 1930s and '40s. Random House, the publisher, is claiming that the book is destined to be a classic as was her highly acclaimed "Handmaid's Tale".

I myself have never read Atwood, but have recently acquired the unabridged audio version and look forward to the story as soon as I finish John Irving's, "The World According to Garp".



The Mysterious Canadians.

Like a good mystery? My wife and I both do. She is voracious in her consumption of the genre. I am simply avid. After she read her books it was usual that I got to read them. Now, due to the time constraints from which I suffer (with commuting time being the chief villain), I prefer to listen to my books. They are usually recorded on audio cassettes or CDs and I prefer the unabridged versions whenever I have a choice.

Now we've all heard of world-renowned mystery writers such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Raymond Chandler and Mary Higgins Clark. Any avid mystery reader worth their salt is probably also familiar with the names of Rendall, Sayers, Allingham, Dexter, Cornwall and DeMille. However, are you also aware that there are literally hundreds of Canadian mystery writers?

Well, whether you have or not, you are in for a treat. If reading is your pleasure (you're doing it now) and mystery is your genre, I am going to provide you a list of some Canadian authors who write in the mode. With this list of 13 prominent Canadian mystery writers, you'll get a leg up on the home-grown variety of the genre. Obviously, with new writers popping up every day, the list is not all inclusive, but it will steer you into some good mystery reads.

1. Gail Bowen
2. Laurence Gough
3. Peter Robinson
4. Sparkle Hayter
5. Howard Engel
6. Michael Slade
7. Kathy Reichs
8. Anna Porter
9. Jackie Manthorne
10. L.R. Wright
11. Alison Gordon
12. Eric Wilson
13. William Deverell

This short list was put together just to help you in your search for those mystifying literal linguists who have their roots in this great land.

The absolute best publication I have come across dedicated to books of this ilk is "The Mystery Review". Except for a small oversight on my part, we (that is my wife and I) have been continuous subscribers to this Canadian periodical for over three years. I contacted the editor of the mag, Barbara Davey, and asked her for some information on the history of this publication. The following is a summary of what she sent me.

The magazine began publication in the fall of 1992. It has been a quarterly since its inception and plans are to keep it that way. It did not have a predecessor. There has never been an issue missed or postponed since publication began -- a fact in which great pride is taken. Many of the competing periodicals have had a "hit and miss" record.

Barbara's husband, Christian von Hessert, is the publisher and Davey does the editing, some writing and reviews, and the layout of the magazine. It relies on freelance writers and artists for content and it pays a small honorarium to contributors.

The majority of the readers (about 80 percent) are in the United States. Although there is a subscriber base, the vast majority of sales are through retail outlets, which account for about six times as many copies as are sent to subscribers. The magazine has three distributors in the United States. It also gets shelf space in most Barnes & Nobles and Borders retail book stores. The two Canadian distributors are Gordon & Gotch Periodicals, and the Canadian Magazine Publishers Association. The magazine can also be found at most Chapters book stores across Canada as well as the major magazine outlets, such as Magpie Magazines on Vancouver's Commercial Drive.

I would like to thank Barbara for her for her quick and thorough response to my queries. She also sent me another copy of their fall 2000 issue, which I will in turn send to the first request sent to me at john@factscanada.com .

Further information on this wonderful publication can be had at their Web site at this link. Or you can contact Barbara by e-mail at mystrev@reach.net .



I'm sure everyone followed the Games of the 27th Olympiad in Sydney, Australia, which ended last month. However, did you know that another city named Sydney was having an identity crisis because of all the publicity?

Yes, I'm talking about Sydney, Nova Scotia, where they just wrapped up the Games of the First Psychiatric Olympiad. Here are some of the highlights:

- Canada stole the gold medal in the lifting competition for kleptomaniacs.

- Nobody crossed the finish line in the 100 metre run for paranoids (they all scattered when the starting gun went off).

- A promising medal hope vanished due to a bad baton exchange in the schizophrenics' 1x4x100 relay.

- The manic depressive tennis finals were cancelled when the players refused to get out of bed.

- In the compulsive-obsessive swimming competition, nobody actually dove into the water because, "you don't know what kind of germs and bacteria live in that stuff!"

- Unfortunately, the final match in the paranoid's tennis tournament up took over seven hours to complete because the guy in the blue shirt in section 27, row 33, seat 6, kept staring at the competitors.

Hope you enjoyed all the Olympic coverage! Gary.

Thank you Gary for your contribution.

Yes everyone, this is the famous Gary, who won our first giveaway, or should I say stole it from all the rest of you who thought they had the correct answers. It is revealed here that Gary cheated by looking at some of the answers which he had written on his hand over thirty years ago, while he was still in school.

Once confronted, Gary said, "I even knew, way back then, that there was eventually going to be a need to know some of the answers, so I wrote an essay on the DEW Line on my hand. Washing posed somewhat of a problem, but I used quality ink and kept transferring it from hand-to-hand as it began to fade. The advantage here was that I then became ambidextrous.

"As far as the other questions; I was always a big CFL fan so the Winnipeg Blue Bomber's question was a snap.

"I had a crush on Yvonne DeCarlo in the sixties during which time I mostly sat around in my underwear, biting the heads off animal crackers while watching 'The Munsters'. After the show went off the air, I was depressed and went through a bit of an identity crises. I soon found myself being attracted to the premiers of eastern Canadian provinces, so I guess you could say I had a crush on Joey Smallwood's successor Frankie Moores as well.

"Finally, when I was in my depression era, I bought a whole bunch of satin undergarments. They all had the coat of arms embroidered right on them, so all I did was pull my pants down and count the number of heraldic lions. So, except for the DEW Line cheat, anyone could have had the same answers I did."

Gary's last name, "Busby", will not be used or revealed to anyone. Also his e-mail address, garybusby@premierpremiers.net, will also remain property of FactsCanada. So don't e-mail him... much.



Chicoutimi, Quebec.

Known as the "premier city" of the Saguenay area of Quebec, the "twin cities" of Chicoutimi and Jonquiere (Jonquiere is located directly west of Chicoutimi) together occupy an area of 1723 square kilometres, and form Canada's 21st most populous city with a 1996 census showing of 160 454. It is located 211 kilometres north of Quebec City on Provincial Highway 175, and is Canada's second largest northern city, after Edmonton, Alberta.

Chicoutimi is derived from the Montagnais First Nation phrase meaning, "the end of deep waters", which is a reference to the tides reaching to the confluence of the Chicoutimi and Saguenay rivers. Montagnais is the name given by the French to the hearty people who lived in this vast area now occupied by Quebec and Labrador, and means "mountaineers".

Culturally, Chicoutimi remains attached to it's historic past. While still developing it's future, Chicoutimi, as the regional capital of Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean, is still a diocesan centre (a district over which a Catholic bishop has authority), and has been since 1878. It has a major hospital and is the home to the Universite du Quebec a Chicoutimi. Other historical reminders can be found in the Societe Historique de Saguenay, one of North America's major historical societies, and the Musee du Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean. Additionally, the Corporation de la Vielle Pulperie has restored the remains of many wood pulp factories, which are a significant reminder of the area's, and Canada's, industrial heritage.



Owing to the length of this week's newsletter, the fourth installment of Canada's number one charted musical singles, will appear next week. This next installment will be taking a look at the music of 1990.



The Saguenay Deluge.

The "deluge" (as the name implies, a great flood, a heavy fall of rain, or an overwhelming rush of waters, in this context) began on July 20, 1996.

In a span of hours on this date, more than 28 centimetres (11 inches) of rain fell on the area known as the Saguenay. (Its official name is Parc de conservation du Saguenay, and is one of Quebec's 17 provincial parks). By the end of this onslaught, two days later, the area had received as much rain as it would normally get in any given month. The area's silty, clay-like soil had already been "waterlogged" by two weeks of rain prior to this barrage. Ditches turned into ravines, which in turn evolved into streams, then into torrential water flows. The nearest city to the Saguenay area is Chicoutimi, in which most of the volume of damage mentioned below occurred.

By July 22, almost 22 490 homes had been destroyed, another 1250 damaged and 16 000 residents evacuated. Ten people died in the "clay slides", including two unfortunate children lost to a spate of mud and debris which sealed them in their home's basement.

Mentioned above, the area know as Jonquiere was not affected as much by flooding as it lay west of the majority of the devastation and its elevation is much higher than that of Chicoutimi's almost sea level disposition.


Well, that's it for another week. If you like mystery stories, please give our Canadian authors a chance. Please also visit the site for "The Mystery Review" mentioned above. Even if you don't choose a Canadian author, this publication reviews any books of this genre, as well as providing some very interesting features. The current issue, which I am giving away, contains a wonderful article on the Boston-based detective series by Robert B. Parker, which features Spenser, Hawk, Susan, Quirk and Belson. As a plug for this wonderful series, I will inform you that some 27 novels in the series have been published, and I have completed ten. They are intellectual in nature and promote much thought on death, violence, love, lust and relationships. My favourite so far is the 1995 "Thin Air". Until next week....



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