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6.15.2002 by Forrest, every Wednesday.


Nortel’s share price over the last two years has gone down faster than a 14-year-old on Roofies. To put the current 3$ price in perspective, it’s about what it was 15 years ago – before most people had heard of the Internet, and all Nortel did was make phones and carrier equipment. How could the folks at what was once Canada’s golden boy company bite it this hard? By spinning off profitable (or potentially profitable) bits to spend on trendy stuff, by buying ridiculously overpriced startups with their own overpriced stock, and by constantly kidding themselves about the dotcom bubble, that's how. Pure genius.

Big Rock Grasshöpper Beer

I had never actually tried Grasshöpper until this past weekend, even though it’s been available for a while. Somehow the idea of a beer made from wheat made me think of Wonder Bread. After they ran out of Brick this weekend though, I decided to try one and I must say that it’s quite the tasty stuff. A delightfully refreshing, light, but still pretty interesting summer beer. Perfect for those muggy cottage bashes, Barbequeues, and slow days at the office. Pity if you live in Québec though; their backward protectionist alcohol regulations pretty much restrict your choices to 50, Heineken or Maudite.

Canadian War Museum

Well the well-meaning folks at the CWM have dug themselves in deep now. As soon as Moriyama Teshima unveiled the three design candidates for the new Canadian War Museum, the public grumbling began. Personally, I’ve actually warmed to the designs after an initial shoulder shrug. Pity you can’t look at them; in an Orwellian twist, the museum has taken them off their web site. My question isn’t about the designs though, but about the selection process – which involved selecting architects before designs. Contrast this with the recent Royal Ontario Museum expansion, where they had three different architects put forth designs, giving a greater variety from which to choose (in the ROM case I actually preferred Moriyama’s design to Daniel Libeskind’s winner). My personal conspiracy theory is that the powers that be thought MT, being Big Name Canadian Architects, deserved a Big Name National Museum, seeing as we have a Safdie and a Cardinal. Who wants to bet that Arthur Erickson gets begged to do the next one?

Newfoundland and Labrador

Well it took 10 years, but finally shovels are going to start hitting the ground at the World’s Biggest Nickel Deposit. A broken promise from Inco a few years back set off a bout of arguing and delays that were as nauseating to watch as Full House, and twice as whiny on both sides. Of course the deal isn’t quite the lifesaver that the Newfie government likes to claim; the new “experimental” smelter is going to create a whole 400 jobs in an area where unemployment reaches rates of 70 percent (no, that’s not a misprint). Of course if you were to be rational you’d send those thousands of unemployed off to Alberta where they’re begging for workers. But it’s Newfies we’re talking about. Have some sympathy.

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