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Sunday Newsletter 2000-22Su.

November 26, 2000.

I know, I know. Gas prices are skyrocketing, the cost to keep warm is heating up, there is some new tax or levy almost every other day, and it's starting to get damn cold again. So what is it that we love about this country? I want some answers! Just send me a list of one or two things you like about Canada. It need not be comprehensive -- just a short statement is fine. I will go through the list and pick the best to appear in a future newsletter. So, please send your praise for this great land to john@factscanada.ca .



= Announcement
= Contest deadline extension
= Question of the week
= Biography
= Music trivia
= Top three Canadian government sites
= Agriculture
= Geography and place names
= This week's joke
= Answer to this week's question
= Preview
= Links



Did I say "john@factscanada.CA"? I did! FactsCanada is now more Canadian than it was before. Thanks to deregulation of the .ca domain space, we now own the domain factscanada.ca, and you can now access the site at this link instead of that nasty American domain. We still own the .com, and will probably keep it, but you won't see us actually mention it (unless we come up with some great use for it). You can still access the site at the old domain, and all e-mail addresses on the old domain still work.



We have still not had a single entry for the contest that was supposed to end this morning. Wow, I didn't think it would be so difficult to give away free stuff! So we are extending the deadline until 1:00 am Pacific Time, next Sunday -- December 3, 2000. For the contest details, please see last week's newsletter on the FactsCanada.ca Web site at this link.



Canada's first nuclear reactor was built back in 1945. It was also the first built in the world outside of the United States. What was its name?

a. Candu
b. NRC
d. Manhattan Project

The answer is near the bottom.



Richard Caruthers Little (Rich Little).

Born in Ottawa, Ontario, on November 26, 1938, Little is probably the world's most widely recognized impressionist. I grew up laughing my guts out at this gentleman, seeing him perform his impressions of celebrities every chance I could. He actually started copying other voices at the age of 12, when he would answer his teachers' questions in their own voice. A few years later when he wanted to date a particular girl, he would ask around and find out who was her favourite actor -- then call them up asking for date imitating that celebrity's voice.

In the early sixties he worked as a disc jockey and talk show host. One April Fool's Day he did an afternoon program supposedly hosted by Elvis Presley. On leaving the station he needed to get by over 500 autograph-hungry Elvis fans to return home.

It was in 1963 that Little's career really got the boost it needed. Mel Torme saw him perform on a local Canadian television program and was completely enamoured (or should I say "impressed"?) by the young man's talents. Torme was, at the time, working on the production team that presented the Judy Garland show each week in the United States. Torme contacted Little and asked him to make a demo tape, which he did, and it was passed on to Garland. She loved it, and Little was signed to her show. This lead to other appearances on many variety shows, like those of Ed Sullivan, Jackie Gleason, Mike Douglas and Dean Martin. Little even had his own variety show in the seventies, and hosted Johnny Carson's "The Tonight Show", mostly in Johnny's voice of course, more than a dozen times.

He was named "Comedy Star of the Year" in 1974 by the American Guild of Variety Artists and continued his career by recording nine comedy albums and appearing later in three HBO specials. He also won an Emmy in 1979 for "Rich Little's Christmas Carol", in which he had W.C. Fields play Scrooge, Humphrey Bogart one of the ghosts, and Paul Lynde (from "Bewitched" and "Hollywood Squares") as Bob Cratchit.

Little also came to the rescue of many actors when their voices failed them. Due to illness he substituted for David Niven's voice in the 1982 movie "Trail of the Pink Panther". He was even the posthumous voice of Peter Sellers in the 1983 movie "Curse of the Pink Panther", and when Stacey Keach was in a British prison it was Little who the producers called on to make voice-overs for Keach's portrayal of "Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer"

He does not only do impressions of men. Among his female characters are Bette Midler, Judy Garland, Carol Channing and Dr. Ruth. He also does Jean Stapleton's character, Edith Bunker, from "All in the Family", and all the Bundys from "Married with Children". All together he has over 200 personalities in his repertoire and uses them constantly.

Little has been a supporter over the years for various children's charities including the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. He has co-hosted the Canadian division of the Children's Miracle Network, and for his determined efforts in fund raisers on behalf of children he has been inducted into the Children's Hospital Pediatrics Hall of Fame in Miami, Florida, USA.

Today, Little is satisfied with making the odd White House appearance and tours about one third of the year in such places as Atlantic City, Lake Tahoe, Branson, Missouri, Hawaii, Chicago and New York. Mostly though, he is happy performing at his southern home in Las Vegas, where he is a frequent headliner at the Sahara. The biggest "impression" on his life has been his daughter, Bria.



Well, here is the final installment this year of my look at the songs that made it to number one in Canada. I have given you lists from five-year intervals, beginning in 1975. I conclude this year's series with the number one songs from five years ago in 1995. During 2001 I will do a similar feature for the years 1976, 1981, 1986, 1991 and 1996.

Ah 1995 -- the year of the "Macarena". I remember it well. I am sure you do as well, but who was it that recorded this version? Read below to refresh your memory.

The year started of with a holdover from 1994, with the first two weeks of the year being the end of nine weeks that Madonna's "Secret" held down the number one position in the land. The remaining songs for the year were:

"Always", by Bon Jovi (whose real name is John Francis Bongiovi).
"Sukiyaki", by 4 P.M., an American quartet. A one-hit wonder.
"Take a Bow", by Madonna.
"Have you Ever Really Loved a Woman?", by Canadian Bryan Adams.
"This is how we do It", by Montell Jordan.
"Macarena", by Los Del Mar, a Canadian dance group from Quebec and one-hit wonder. Another arrangement was introduced in 1996 by the Spanish guitar duo Los Del Rio which only peaked at number eight.
"I'll be There for You / You're all I Need to get By", by Method Man, featuring Mary J. Bilge. Method Man is an American rapper, born Clifford Smith, and is a member of Wu-Tang Clan.
"Fantasy", by Mariah Carey.
"Runaway", by Janet Jackson.

Songs stayed at number one for long periods in 1995, reducing the total number of number-one songs by quite a bit. The single that spent the most time at number one in 1995 was Bryan Adams' "Have you Ever Really Loved a Woman?", logging ten consecutive weeks. Mariah Carey's "Fantasy" actually spent twelve weeks at number one, but only seven were in 1995 -- the other five were the first weeks of 1996. An honourable mention goes to "Macarena", which spent nine consecutive weeks at number one.



Here are the top three Canadian Government sites according to a recent poll. I have gathered some information on these sites and have listed it below. Please see the today's resources page for the links. I hope these site are of some use to you.

Government of Canada Primary Internet Site

This is the federal government's portal or "gateway" site. Its function is to furnish an easy-to-use, single-window access spot to the Government of Canada's data on information and services. Although not exhaustive in coverage, it provides access to the most frequently requested searches in several different ways and has some very useful features. The most useful feature is the new, improved search engine that apparently indexes all Government of Canada Web sites. Not enough information is provided to explain how or what the search engine covers, or how it ranks results, but it is faster and seemingly more reliable than any previous version. Site available in English and French.

Intergovernmental On-Line Information Kiosk

An investigative portal site to government information and services on federal, provincial, territorial, municipal, and even foreign government Web sites. The "Services Catalogue" is a database of government services from all levels of government in any format that exists on-line. You are able to search in many ways and each service is described in a standard form, with access and fee information provided. The "Documents" section is a small registry of on-line, intergovernmental information and reports from the various levels of government. In the "News" section you can search for news releases from federal and provincial sites. Interactive public forums allow you to join a few government discussion lists or search their archives. "Technology Watch" is a list of new technologies or applications with a link to the Web sites of featured companies. Federal and provincial telephone directories can also be searched from this site. Site available in English and French.

(Note from Craig: It's difficult to tell whether or not this site really still functions. It doesn't seem to have been updated in three years [according to the information on its "What's New on InterGov" page], although some pages seem to have been updated as "recently" as 1999, and the most recent notice on the home page is dated 1998! User beware, I guess.)

National Library of Canada

This information-packed site is divided into three sections: the first section covers general information about the NLC via a virtual tour, calendar of events, directory of services and departments, and a publications catalogue. On-line publications include annual reports, news releases, bulletins, and sections entitled "Forthcoming Books", "Read Up On It", and "Network Notes". The "Services" section details the NLC's services to libraries, researchers and publishers, provides access to the NLC catalogue and its vast array of subjects, information on subscribing to "AMICUS", information about the national bibliography "Canadiana", and national initiatives supported by the NLC. The third section, "Sources of Canadian Information", includes, under government information, a list of Canadian government library catalogues, links to the major, official government sites and selected others, and a collection of key federal documents in full text. Some government Web sites and documents are also included in the "Canadian Information by Subject" listing of on-line information from or about Canada, arranged in the Dewey Decimal Classification system. Also including government information is the "Canadiana Quick Reference" listing of answers to frequently asked questions at the NLC. There is a growing list of digital projects on many different subjects, including Prime Ministers' speeches, Confederation, and federal Royal Commissions. Site available in English and French.



One of our readers asked me if I knew how to distinguish a vegetable from a fruit. While most are fairly easy to categorize, there are a few surprises and some general rules to follow. Read on and learn.

Most of us are aware that apples and pears are fruits, but did you know that pumpkins, peppers and cucumbers are as well? Simply put, a fruit is the ripened ovary of a flower. Once the ovary of the flower has been pollinated, it develops into a fruit, which normally contains one or more seeds. Thus, tomatoes, green beans and sweet corn are fruits, along with oranges and apples.

A vegetable is the "vegetative" part of a plant. This means it is not involved in the reproductive cycle and does not contain seeds. These include the tuber of the potato, the root of a carrot, the stem of an asparagus, the bulb of an onion, the leaf of a lettuce, or a floret from the broccoli plant.

Fruits always grow on "perennials", meaning they survive for many years. Vegetables usually grow as "annuals", meaning they are around for one growing season and then die, needing to be replanted the next year.



Flinton, Ontario.

Located in approximately the centre of the long and narrow Lennox and Addington County, Ontario, the town of Flinton is fairly remote by today's standards, located about 20 kilometres off of Provincial Highway 7, along County Road 25. It was named in 1858 after Belleville merchant and lumberman Billa Flint (1805-1894).

I pay tribute to this small town in honour of Adrian, one of our original readers, who grew up in Flinton. I feel I must remind him that one of Flinton's biggest annual events is coming up on Friday, December 15th, that being the Land O' Lakes Old Tyme Fiddlers' celebration. This party features yodelling local yokels, foot-tapping fiddle music, as well as square dancing, guitars and mouth organ music. It is being held at the Flinton Hall at 8:00 pm. I hope you give up the city life for one weekend, Adrian, and make it to this party of parties!



What is the difference between Mount Logan and cod liver oil?

One is hard to get up, the other is hard to get down.

I know, pretty corny, eh.



The correct answer is c, ZEEP (Zero Energy Experimental Pile). Built in Chalk River, Ontario, the site was shut down in 1970 and served as a museum until 1997. Its fiftieth anniversary in 1995 was its last big gasp as a national landmark, when a huge party was thrown to honour Canada's technological "coming of age". Soon after, however, in 1997, it was totally disassembled to make room for two "Maple Isotope Reactors" being built on the same site.



On Friday, Craig takes another turn at the wheel and writes on spam (also known as "unsolicited commercial e-mail"), virus warnings (and hoaxes), chain letters, and other annoyances that probably appear in your e-mail every day. He promises not to use any bad words.


Next week I will let you know why the eastern provinces, as well as the states down south, have counties, while out west we have no such designation for areas of land. Tomorrow is election day, so please take the time to vote. Let's show the Americans that electing a new government isn't as difficult as they make it out to be! Until then...



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