The administration team is currently searching for Canadian expatriates who would be interested in contributing to the Expat Blog. The subject matter is wide open, but must remain family friendly.
If you are interested in joining our blogging team, please send an email our way!
Posted by Admin
Thursday, June 30, 2005
Life Imitating Art by Expat
An eighteen year old woman disappears. Her ex-boyfriend is suspected of being involved with her disappearance, but he is not talking.
Knowing that they have to do something to get the kid to open up, the police devise an elaborate plan to trick him into believing that he has won a trip to see a hockey game. While on the trip, the suspect befriends an undercover cop who claims to belong to a criminal gang. After having done a few errands with this faux gangster and having earned a few bucks at it, the kid is told that he could join the gang providing that he confesses his previous crimes to the "boss". The suspect then confesses to choking his ex-girlfriend, strangling her with a hair dryer cord, and then drowning her in a bathtub. After cleaning her body, he buried her in a fresh grave at the local cemetery. Police move in for the arrest.
Sound like the plot from last night's Lifetime movie?
Impressive hate speech, isn't it? Here is my take on it.
A few years ago, when the war with Iraq began, it was common for Bush supporters to call those who opposed the war "un-American". As support for the war continues to wane in the US (to the point where pep rallies are required), those same supporters are now turning outside of the US with their name calling. Of course, the standard insult of "un-American" can not apply, so the new catchphrase of the day is "anti-Americanism".
What better way to heal a divided country than over the notion that everything you pride yourself on as a nation is under attack?
Whoa, anyone else sensing some déjà vu?
Note to John Gibson: Canada can, indeed, set its own policy independent of the US of A, you jackass.
I was rather surprised to see this headline from the Toronto Star this morning: Dancing Sweeps Country Off Its Feet. The article details the popularity of ABC's most recent reality series, Dancing with the Stars, and its positive effect on Toronto dance studios. According to the article, Dancing with the Stars is garnering an average of 1.4 million Canadian viewers, earning it fifth place on BBM's ratings of the top 20 shows watched in Canada. Here, in the States, the show is at number one.
I caught the program for the first time last week and it left me asking, "What the heck?". It looks like a low budget telethon that swiped its formatting from American Idol, its production crew from the local high school's A.V. club, and its set from the local community theatre. How on earth can this show be number one in the US and number 5 in Canada? The host, Tom Bergeron, is the same man who took over America's Funniest (Getting Hit in the Groin) Videos from Bob Saget in 2001. He brings as much charisma to this show as Saget brought to the latter. The cast of dancers are wide ranging - a reality TV star, a former model, a soap star, a former New Kid on the Block, a former boxer, and Peterman from Seinfeld. The common thread that binds these celebrity's together, of course, is that they have all faded from the limelight and are now seeking renewed fame.
If you have not had an opportunity to catch this show, you are not miss much. In all honesty, the most entertaining aspects of the series are this phone number snafu, in which a Michigan woman is picking up the tab for hundreds of misdialed votes for John O'Hurely, and this humiliating "vote for me" email that circulated from Trista, the first contestant to be booted off of the show. (I guess she did really need my vote afterall!)
In other news, clear your schedules for Fox's upcoming series Skating with Celebrities. How could Fox go wrong with a series that features washed up celebs falling on their arses? I predict this new series to be a huge success!
Moose Jaw police officers responded to a 2:30 a.m. burglar alarm at the New Board Shop at 338 Main St. N. Upon their arrival, they discovered a man standing in front of the smashed storefront window holding a dressed mannequin.
Dropping the mannequin, the man fled on foot, leading police on a chase that would end in his arrest - and our amusement. The burglar, a 27 year old male, was wearing a lady's bikini, which he had stolen from the store.
"It was a two-piece," said Moose Jaw police spokesman Cpl. Cliff Froehlich.
The bikini is being kept as evidence and the man remains in police custody. He is expected to make a first appearance in court later today. He's been charged with break and enter, theft, and poor fashion sense.
Recently, there have been a number of searches of this site for a copycat recipe for A&W onion rings to go with the burger recipes from a few weeks ago. Not wanting our readers to leave this blog with an unsatisfied craving, we, at Canadian Expatriates, provide you with the following recipe.
A&W® Onion Rings
1 cup McCormick® Golden Dipt Tempura batter mix 1/4 teaspoon onion powder 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper 1/2 cup water 1/4 cup beer (regular or nonalcoholic) 1 extra large white onion, sliced 3/8-inch thick 6 cups vegetable oil (for deep fryer)
Preheat the deep fryer to 375 degrees F.
Combine tempura mix with the spices and liquid to make a batter, using a fork. There will be some small lumps which is okay.
Slice the onion, and separate all of the rings. Dip the individual rings into the batter, then drop into the preheated oil. Deep fry for 3 to 5 minutes until golden brown. Remove to a paper towel lined plate. Salt lightly, and serve hot!
I have realized that nothing makes you feel older than seeing those around you getting older. Aging, it would appear, is much easier to recognize in others, than in yourself. Parents have a great sense of the passage of time because they can see their children's growth and development. Those of us without children, get caught in a bit of a time vacuum, not realizing exactly how much time has passed since we all left high school. This brings me to last night's marathon of Degrassi: The Next Generation.
I watched a portion of the marathon (which billed itself as "Every Episode, Ever"*), completely intrigued by seeing Spike, Joey, Caitlin, and Snake once again. Like most Canadians of my generation, I was an avid fan of Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High when I was growing up (I was too young for The Kids of Degrassi Street) and was keen to see how the original cast had changed. I was stunned to see that Spike's daughter, Emma, is now dealing with issues such as boys, sex, and domestic violence; I was surprised to see Snake all grown up and now teaching at Degrassi; but most of all, I was absolutely shocked to see Joey Jeremiah's lack of hair.
Joey was THE coolest dude at Degrassi. He wore his kickin' fedora, played in a rock band (who cares that The Zit Remedy only played one song?!?), and even streaked across the cafeteria. Now he is a balding, middle aged father running a used car lot.
Recently, there have been a number of articles regarding a strong anti-American sentiment on the part of Canadians. While I don't doubt that there is such a problem (particularly considering how Canadians like to define themselves as "anti-American" in the sense that we are anything but American), I do take exception to the following article. In The Ugly Anti-American, David Bruser (a Canadian) poses as an American in Toronto. His article begins with several stereotypes of Americans before going into detail of his conversations with a handful of strangers (both Canadian and American), and then concludes that Canadians (at least in the Toronto area) are strongly anti-American.
I find Bruser's methods to be quite interesting. Rather than acting how a normal American tourist in Toronto would act and simply observing people's reactions to that, Bruser approaches people on the street by first introducing himself as American and then observing that he has come across some "anti-Americanism" in Toronto. He, thereby, sets the stage for the conversation that is to follow and skews the results of his experiment. As such, the article reads more as a study in the concept of "if you search for something you will find it" than anything else. Perhaps the interviewees were not reacting so much to the fact that Bruser was American (or anything else for that matter), as they were to the fact that he was coming up to them and introducing himself as *fill in the blank* and following that up with his observations of anti-*fill in the blank*-ism. Could it be that his method of approaching people paramounted to a perceived criticism which set people on edge immediately?
Bruser's interviews with the Americans that he met in Toronto serve to further discredit his findings. Four of the six Cardinal fans that he interviewed said that they loved Toronto while two said that the city was "inhospitable", which does not necessarily mean that they found it to be anti-American. Another account, that of the Houston couple in the souvenir store, pokes fun more at Canadians than at Americans. The couple were turned off when they saw a t-shirt in the store that read, "What's the definition of a Canadian? An unarmed American with healthcare." Clearly a poke at both the Canadian identity and how Canadians choose to identify themselves. The just of the joke, of course, is that Canadians and Americans are not all that different.
Bruser ends his article in the same vein that he began - stereotypes of Americans - and all of them are by his own hand. First, he declares that "If ever there was an American in Toronto, [Ed] Peck was it." What exactly does this quintessential American in Canada look like, you ask? Why Bruser tells us that he is "moustachioed, athletic build, a tall cowboy hat fit snugly on his head. And unfailingly polite, with a firm handshake to send you off ". I find it interesting that Mr. Peck, who enjoyed his time in Canada, is then immortalized in print by Bruser's stereotyping and smart ass remark, "Y'all come back, hear?".
Could it be that this story was just one giant self-fulfilling prophecy?
According to Statistics Canada, if we were to divide Canada's net worth among Canadians, it would amount to $134,400 per person. The number was achieved by dividing Canada's national net worth (total net worth of persons, corporations and governments) by Canada's population.
A recent CBC article focuses on some of Canada's greatest mysteries, including British Columbia's Ogopogo, the disappearance of Ambrose Small, the death of artist Tom Thomson, and a UFO sighting above Shagg Harbour, Nova Scotia.
Three bookshelves which are bursting at the seams. The majority of books can be categorized as either history books (my passion) or books written by or about L.M. Montgomery.
2. Last book I bought:
Cracking the LSAT. Why? Because it is tough to find a job in the US with degrees in Canadian history and Canadian literature. Just a note to future Canadian expats - don't be too "Canadian specific" in your degree!
3. Last book I read:
The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown. When I began reading the novel, I thought "How wonderful that this book features a curator. It is about time our noble profession is recognized in a best seller! " Little did I know that I was soon to be disappointed when my favourite character met with his untimely death a few pages into the novel. :(
4. Five books that mean a lot to me:
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. I loved L.M. Montgomery's books when I was a child and delighted in reading her journals as a teenager (despite the fact that they are a "box of Kleenex in one hand, bottle of Prozac in the other" kind of read.). My first edition copy of this book is probably the absolute coolest book that I will ever own.
The Canadian Prairies: A History by Gerald Friesen. This book is the Holy Grail of Canadian Prairie history and is a necessary resource for any historian of the region. Don't ever leave home without it! :)
Born at the Right Time: A History of the Baby Boom Generation by Doug Owram. This book is a fascinating read, even for those with little interest in history. The book explores the impact that the Boomers had on Canadian society right down to the development of certain baby foods, the creation of suburbs, the teachings of Dr.Spock (and the ramifications of those teachings), and the cult of the teenager. The book avoids the cliches that plague most literature written about that era.
The Nature of Their Bodies: Women and Their Doctors in Victorian Canada by Wendy Mitchinson. Definitely not a read for men as I am sure that it would make them terribly uncomfortable. :P The book provides an account of the rise of obstetrics, gynaecology, and birth control in Victorian Canada. It explores these medical advances amid the societal views of the late nineteenth century, when women were believed to be frail and sex was not discussed. (Oh man... just think of the Google hits I will get now!).
I am reluctant to type the title of the final book (as it is somewhat identifying); however, this book probably means the most to me. It is a complete history of the last museum that I worked at in Canada and is signed by all of my co-workers along with their well wishes. It is definitely something that I will always treasure. :)
5. Tag five more: I will be the official killer of this meme... umm... forward! ;)
The US Grand Prix has become an annual Father's Day event in our household. Family flies in a few days prior to the race and we go to a few baseball games and car shows in between Thursday's pitwalk and Sunday's race. It is a regular testosterone-fest for the men in my life. This year was no different - well, except for the fact that there wasn't a race.
Much has been written about the 2005 US Grand Prix, so I will not bore you with another account of the events. If you have not heard the details yet, you can read a fantastic account of what happened here. Instead, my intention is to document what it was like to be a fan (or at least among the fans) in the stands.
We were very fortunate and had wonderful seats. We did not have to worry about parking as we were part of a police escorted motorcade. For us, it was a short walk from where our bus parked to the private suite where we would enjoy the race. We were served breakfast and lunch, had private bathroom facilities, an open bar, a television tuned to the Speed Channel, and a full balcony from which we could see nearly everything. It was incredible. In fact, it was more than incredible. We were set for a remarkable experience at the 2005 US Grand Prix.
From our perch above the crowd, we had a decent view of the fans. There were folks from all over the world, many of whom were carrying their country's flags and were sporting head to waist paint in the colours of their favourite race car driver. One fellow wore a t-shirt that said, "I came from Columbia to see Montoya win the race!". Another fan carried a sign that said "Kimi, I am your father!" with a giant picture of Darth Vader on it. His buddy wore a Vader helmet and walked alongside of him. It was nothing short of an interesting collection of people.
We knew that Michelin had some trouble with their tires on the newly resurfaced track earlier in the week and had heard some rumours just prior to the race that the Michelin teams wanted a chicane put in at turn thirteen but we really had no idea exactly what was about to ensue. All twenty of the cars participated in the formation lap, but on the way back, the Michelin cars pulled into their garages. Those of us in the stands did not know what was going on. Things soon became clear, however, and the crowd, as though on cue, began to chant. In unison, two words rang clear throughout the Speedway - the first was bull, the second you can take a stab at guessing. ;) Chaos ensued as the group of Columbia fans beneath us threw their air horns onto the track. Then an angry fan from the section beneath us threw a beer bottle onto the track, endangering the lives of the drivers and the corner workers. At that point, security wanted all of us who were on the terrace to go back inside while they investigated. There were concerns that things were about to get out of hand. Thankfully things did not escalate.
When we were able to return outside, we were treated to what amounted to a Ferrari test session. It was not much of a race - the best team in the organization against the two worst. By the end of the race, Schumacher and Barrichello had run laps around the Minardi and Jordan teams. It was boring even for an avid Formula One fan, such as my husband. In fact, many fans left the stands just a few laps into the race as it was clear that Ferrari would win and that the Ferrari script would be followed, resulting in another Schumacher win. The only question was which one of the Minardi cars would take third place. In the shadow of such a farce of a race, it is terrible to think about all of the money that had been spent on tickets, airfare, hotels, and restaurants - the list goes on and on.
Regardless of the outcome of the race, my family had a fantastic time together. It was wonderful to get caught up and spend some quality time together. I find myself a little less homesick now that I have had a chance to visit with some folks from home. As for Formula None, one can only hope that the FIA will sort this mess out and that Sunday's events (or lack thereof) will not be permanently damaging to the sport.
I apologize to all of the regular readers for the light posting as of late. The husband was out of commission for quite some time due to his surgeries and now we have company in town and will be heading to the US Grand Prix for the next few days.
The warm weather is upon us and news is slow, as such the Canwest News Service is working hard to educate the Canadian masses on the finer points of wearing Bermuda shorts - including a brief history lesson.
The year 1956 marked the opening of Canada's first A&W drive-in restaurant, which was located on Portage Avenue in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The combination of a frosty mug of rootbeer, onion rings, and burgers was an instant success and the chain quickly spread across Canada. Today there are over 600 A&W restaurants in Canada, spanning from coast to coast.
Canadians are very familiar with A&W's burger family, consisting of Grandpa, Papa, Mama, Teen, and Baby burgers, and as such, may be surprised to learn that the menu at American A&W restaurants is somewhat different from that found north of the 49th. Here in the States, the beloved burger family has been dropped in favour of a more generic sounding menu. Therefore, Canadian Expatriates is providing this link to A&W copy cat recipes so that hungry 'Nuks living abroad can still partake of that marvelous marketing gimmick - a burger specially designed for each member of your family (including a Whistle Dog for Spot).
Yesterday provided us with the first peak of one of the baby birds who are living in our BBQ. For weeks we have heard them chirping for food, now we can see them chirping as well. They are incredibly demanding for being so little.
Please note the feeble duct tape attempt at keeping the birds and their nest out of our new BBQ. Also note the extreme fading that has occurred courtesy the sun, as a direct result of not being able to use the grill cover. We have sacrificed a great deal for these little birds - sun fading (not a happy hubby), a lack of springtime grilling (certainly not a happy hubby), and no use of our back deck (definitely not a happy hubby).
Based on my description of the adult birds, my uncle identified them as European Starlings. They are a common bird today, but they do have an interesting history. Approximately one hundred of the birds were released in New York City between 1890 and 1892 by industrialists who wanted to introduce all of the birds mentioned in the works of William Shakespeare to North America (apparently with little regard to what ramifications that would have on the ecosystem). There are now more than 200 million Starlings in North America - most of which inhabit our BBQ (still not a happy hubby).
Yesterday I also found a baby rabbit living in our tulip patch. It is difficult to get an appreciation of just how tiny he is based on the angle at which this photo was taken, but he certainly is adorable.
I can not believe the number of little creatures that we have living in our yard this year. We have even found that we need to keep an eye out for nests on the ground when we walk the dogs out by the creek.
Tomorrow is the official Slap Your Irritating Co-workers Holiday! *
Do you have a co-worker who talks nonstop about nothing, working your last nerve with tedious and boring details that you don't give a damn about? Do you have a co-worker who ALWAYS screws up stuff creating MORE work for you? Do you have a co-worker who kisses so much booty, you can look in their mouth and see what your boss had for lunch? Do you have a co-worker who is SOOO obnoxious, when he/she enters a room, everyone else clears it? Well, on behalf of Ike Turner, I am so very very glad to officially announce tomorrow as SLAP YOUR IRRITATING CO-WORKER DAY!
There are the rules you must follow:
You can only slap one person per hour - no more.
You can slap the same person again if they irritate you again in the same day.
You are allowed to hold someone down as other co-workers take their turns slapping the irritant.
No weapons are allowed...other than going upside somebody's head with a stapler or a hole-puncher.
CURSING IS MANDATORY! After you have slapped the recipient, your "assault" must be followed with something like "cause I'm sick of your stupid-a$$ always messing up stuff!"
If questioned by a supervisor [or police, if the supervisor is the irritant], you are allowed to LIE, LIE, LIE!
Now, study the rules, break out your list of folks that you want to slap the living day lights out of and get to slapping.....and have a great day
* Canadian Expatriates in no way, shape, or form endorses the official Slap Your Irritating Co-workers Holiday, despite fervent rumours that some of our contributors do, in fact, participate wholeheartedly in the aforementioned holiday.
(Okay, okay! So it is only this contributor who participates! Are you happy now?)
Canada's ambassador to the United States, Frank McKenna, has been working hard to correct American false impressions about Canada, but now he has a message for Canadians: Stop being smug and stop moralizing about what the U.S. should be doing differently.
McKenna is also looking to marshal the over three million Canadian expatriates who are currently living in the U.S. in order to aid Ottawa.
Trillian recently observed (and rightfully so, I might add) that according to the Canada Cool Map Saskatchewan only has one point of interest - Wanuskewin Heritage Park. Although Wanuskewin is a definite must see on your journey through Saskatchewan, the province does offer quite a bit more for both tourists and residents alike.
Without further ado, here is the official "Saskatchewan Sites to See" list.
Government House Heritage Property: Built in 1891, this palace on the prairie was home to nine Lieutenant Governors until Premier Tommy Douglas closed its doors in 1945 and turned it into a rehabilitation centre for veterans. It later became an adult vocational facility and neared demolition in the seventies until the Save Saskatchewan House Society petitioned the provincial government to spare the building. It has now been restored to its 1898 - 1910 splendour and is a must see when visiting the Queen City of Regina.
Saskatchewan Legislative Building: Constructed over the course of four years from 1908 - 1912, the Legislative Building is one of the most historic buildings in the province. The building serves as the centerpiece of the province's government and is open year round for tours in both English and French. The building is located in the heart of Regina's Wascana Park.
The RCMP Centennial Museum: Located at the "Depot Division Training Centre" in Regina, the museum recounts 132 years of RCMP history. The site also features Regina's oldest building, the RCMP Chapel, which was built during the winter of 1882 - 1883. The Sergeant Major's Parade is held just past 12:15 on the parade square during the week. If you find yourself in the area later in the day, be sure to catch the sunset ceremony.
Saskatchewan Provincial Parks: Take advantage of the warm summer weather and visit Saskatchewan's many provincial parks and recreation sites. Some historic parks of interest include Cannington Manor (an attempt by early British settlers to recreate Victorian society in the late 1890s), Last Mountain House (a reconstructed 1869 Hudson Bay Company trading post), and Fort Carlton (a recreation of a much larger Hudson Bay Company trading post which operated from 1810 - 1885).
Batoche: Now a national historic site, but once the location of the Battle of Batoche, the last battlefield in the 1885 North West Rebellion. The battle resulted in the defeat of Louis Riel and his Métis forces by Major General Middleton and his North West Mounted Police force. The original church still stands, complete with bullet holes above the doorway which attest to the historic battle. The social and political ramifications of this battle are still felt today.
Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan: recognized as one of Canada's best Shakespeare Festivals, the cast and crew of Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan has entertained audiences on the banks of the Saskatchewan River for 21 seasons. This years season runs from July 6 until August 7 and will feature Romeo and Juliet as well as The Comedy of Errors.
Sukanen Ship Museum: The museum features former Prime Minister John Diefenbaker's family homestead, as well as a turn of the century prairie town with a school, church, town hall, general store, train station, fire hall, barber shop, doctor's office, and gigantic prairie ship. Read the fascinating tale of Tomi Jannus Alankola, his landlocked ship, and his plan to set sail from Saskatchewan to his native Finland here.
Tunnels of Moose Jaw: Don't confuse me with the facts! Although there is not much to support the claims that Canada's early Chinese immigrants lived in tunnels beneath the streets of Moose Jaw or that Al Capone once escaped the Chicago heat by hiding in those same fictionalized much taked about tunnels, the folks of this attraction do not let the facts get in the way of a good story. (There is more to come on this topic in a future post!)
Motherwell Homestead: Visit the restored homestead of W.R. Motherwell, federal minister of agriculture during the roaring twenties. Costumed interpreters bake bread, tend to the farm, care for the animals, and do all of the homestead's chores, in addition to performing vignettes for visitors. Visitors to the homestead are welcome to tour both the grounds and the house and are invited to attend an annual threshing day.
Temple Gardens Mineral Spa: Looking for a place to relax? Then try Moose Jaw's Temple Gardens. The spa features a heated pool and jacuzzi rooms which contain mineral rich water. The spa is the only one of its kind in Canada and its water is drawn from the "porous rock formation of ancient seabeds more than 1350 meters below the earth's crust". On Tuesdays admission to the pool is half price.
This certainly is not a complete list of all that Saskatchewan has to offer, but as you can see, there is more to the province's attractions than a single dot on the map!
In the spirit of the Canada's current political landscape, The Expat Blog directs you to the CBC's Scandals, Boondoggles, and White Elephants, a nod to some of the biggest political scandals in Canada's history.