You can still send a telegram by Western Union, by dialing 1-800-325-6000. But service isn’t what it used to be: I tried sending a telegram to rural Winconsin last year, and was told that I couldn’t, as no Western Union office was in the area. Quite a change from the days when there was “practically no inhabited part of the world that is inaccessible to Western Union telegrams” (from Harts Guide to New York City, 1964)

The Perfect Television?

BeoVision 1 Television I think that I’ve found the perfect television. It’s the BeoVision 1 from Bang & Olufsen, a Danish maker of audio, video and telephone equipment. They make beautiful, functional things. Unfortunately, I received the following in an email this morning from B&O headquarters: I am afraid I cannot help you with information where to buy a BeoVision 1 in Canada, as we do not sell any of our television sets or videorecorders in Canada, and our television sets for other markets cannot be used in Canada due to different transmission systems. I guess I’m out of luck. Fortunately there appear to be plans to introduce a similar TV in North America this summer.

A few good things…

Some quick pointers to some good things I’ve found: the TD Bank Foreign Exchange Page is the best of the Canadian banks; Fountain Pen Hospital in downtown New York City (just around the corner from City Hall) sold me a wonderful Waterman Hemisphere fountain pen last week; Home Hardware, at least here in Charlottetown has started to sell a very interesting array of kitchen appliances and tableware; and finally, Metro Credit Union in Charlotttetown continues to provide us with prompt, friendly and comprehensive financial services.

Keeping the Faith

I wouldn’t go as far as saying that Keeping the Faith, the new comedy from director turned actor Edward Norton, is better than Heaven Can Wait. Or even really in the same league. But it was a delightful movie, and while Ed Norton is no Warren Beatty, he shows tremendous promise, and I hold out great hope for his future endeavours. Keeping the Faith shares much in common with Beatty’s 1978 Heaven Can Wait (one of my favourite films of all time): they are both movies about religious faith, romantic faith, and the marriage of the two; they both include wonderful mature actors in interesting roles (James Mason and Buck Henry in the former, Anne Bancroft, Milos Forman and Ron Rifkin in the the later); and they are both intelligent comedies that manage to move beyond the traditional “romantic buddy movie” formula (see Trial and Error, Nothing to Lose) and include some interesting reflections on the human condition. I recommend both.

Of note: Milos Forman was also in the 1986 Mike Nichols film Heartburn, which also starred SCTV’s Catherine O’Hara. James Mason appeared in 140 films from 1931 to 1985.

Charlottetown heritage activist Catherine Hennessey is new to computers, and certainly new to the Internet. She needed a website that she could maintain herself, but wasn’t interested in learning how to use HTML editors, FTP programs and the other heavy equipment of web construction. We created a simple web-based administration tool that lets her add, edit and delete stories using her web browser. And it worked!

News from my friend Oliver

I just received a call from my brilliant friend Oliver in San Francisco. He was calling me using some weird new-fangled technology which routes telephone calls over the Internet and, in the process, introduces a slight almost imperceptible delay which is quite disconcerting and somewhat like talking to someone aboard ship. I hadn’t talked with Oliver for almost 5 years, and he found me through this website, and quoted the piece below on corporate credit cards to me, which I’d only placed online an hour ago, which someone makes this whole Internet thing seem even weirder and more immediate. In any case, if you’re looking for a bang-up science writer, you can’t go wrong with Oliver.