My husband calls her “Sideshow Sarah,” for reasons that will be clear to any Simpsons fans who’ve seen recent photos of Toronto gadfly Sarah Thomson.

Thomson is one of those familiar fixtures in cities large and small:

Publisher of a tiny, unread “newspaper;” perpetually spurned seeker of public office; promoter of myriad crunchy, goofy fads and schemes.

One of those “Isn’t she married to Whats-His-Name?”s.

A combination Flying Dutchman and Don Quixote, plus a dusting of second-tier Kardashian.

My husband and I once heard a tacky little rumor about Thomson and Conrad Black years back, so were startled when Lady Black, of all people, verified the tale in a recent Maclean’s magazine column:

Around 2002, publisher Thomson offered, using normal scatology, to “bed” my husband in return for him granting an interview to her newspaper. Though the proposition did not intrigue him, Conrad found it very enterprising and endorsed her for mayor in the last election.

Indeed, Black’s public endorsement was titled “Sarah Thomson: The Woman Toronto Needs” – even though he clearly did not.

(And was at the time, come to think of it, nowhere near Toronto, either…)

Alas, Lady Black — whose journalistic instincts are usually feline and feral, and whose sense of modesty is not exactly legendary — omitted the best part of the story, at least as it was related to me:

That Lord Black had (supposedly) responded gravely, “Thank you, Miss Thomson, but my wife sees to my needs admirably on that particular front.”

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