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Mr. Planta, Dr. Foth is away until Feburary - THE COMMENTARY

By Joseph Planta

VANCOUVER - One of the good things about being young, is that you can get away with stuff adults can’t. For one thing, Rosie O’Donnell refuses to sign autographs for adults, and only signs for kids. (Probably why her signed stuff sells so quickly on e-Bay.) I started collecting autographs about 8 years ago. I don’t know why, maybe just because I wanted to be somewhat closer to fame and fortune, and of course the celebrities themselves.

The first autograph I ever got was Gene Kiniski, a former professional wrestler. But, the one I remember most was Frank Sinatra. Then, in his prime, Francis got a letter from one Joseph Planta, a long one to say the least. Well, some weeks later, an envelope came to the house from Palm Springs, for a “Joe Planta.” Perfectly Frank.

Another thing, as of late, and as you’ve seen in past columns, is the contact I’ve derived through the miracles of e-mail. Great success came my way in Socials 11, in a government project, when I conducted “interviews” with MLA’s, MP’s and media folk. I guess when someone, no matter how famous sends you back a response, it feels somewhat gratifying.

People say I stalk Rafe Mair, but that’s far from the truth. I, in my charming way registered some thoughts about the one Mr. Mair, on the CKNW website, and some days letter, I get an e-mail, from Rafe. Soon after, I had a CAPP project due, and I asked Rafe for an exclusive. Every single time I need a question answered, or something, he’s very forthcoming for a chap like me.

I guess the main difference between mail and e-mail is that there’s a level of promptness associated with electronic mail. Also, I think more people have more time to read and answer e-mail, rather than snail mail. I think that’s one of the main reasons why I landed so many famous people for that project. An example: Councillor George Puil was being rather difficult about doing a sit-down interview with me, suggesting we do one over the telephone. (He does have a lot on his plate, by the way.) I refused and sent the questions via e-mail. Within 48 hours, I get a call from his secretary who says I should check my e-mail, because sitting in my inbox was the response from Puil.

One of the things I also like about e-mail is that I can get in touch with important people, who wouldn’t usually meet with me in person or take my calls. Case in point, came a couple of days ago. I happen to be an avid and faithful reader of Allan Fotheringham in Maclean’s. I also found out through one of my many Internet travels, Dr. Foth writes a bi-weekly column in The Toronto Sun. We can, thanks to the ‘net read Foth’s pieces on, so I started reading every week. Well, one day his piece wasn’t there. The week after the same. I wrote a letter to the paper, hoping to get a reason why Fotheringham isn’t in The Toronto Sun anymore. Not three days later, I get two e-mails, one from a fellow named Woodcock, and another from the Editor-in-chief, Goldstein, who informed me Dr. Foth is on holidays till February.

It’s a little heady to get e-mails from the editor-in-chief and associate editor of a national newspaper, especially one from the ever-beloved, Central Canada. So, the miracles of e-mail and Internet, have some merits. Contrary to what some Orthodox rabbi’s say in Israel, its here to say, and its so damned useful.

Plus, if you let the thoughts run out of your fingers you can get a column out, 5 times-a-week.

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An archive of Joseph Planta's previous columns can be found by clicking HERE .